Tag Archives: Strategy

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: The Incredible Baron

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A bragging, posh and quite self absorbed gentleman, a big boned shrieking bat of a lady and a pint sized big eyed boy is on journey into the unknown. On a trek to discover new creatures and document them. After all a true man have to leave a legacy. Unfortunately the Baron have a bad habit of being a braggart, whom like to take the honor for other peoples ideas. Only the Baron himself is capable of making these robotic inits. But when they go wrong, they suddenly belong to his assistant again.20160804091003_1

While the story is fantastic and very fun, with colorful characters and lovely artwork. The Incredible Baron gameplay itself is a bit dry and boring. There is nothing inherently wrong about it, I just find it dull. On the left side is my base, here I can build rooms. These produce units for a cost. Money slowly trickle in and can be gained by besting the incoming enemy. However the units themselves can only walk one way and that is towards my enemy. Unfortunately  I have no control over these little buggers at all; which means strategy comes from what order I buy them in. Eventually I got several support abilities to use as well. Such as the flintlock pistol, that provides extra research 20160804091107_1when dealing the killing blow. When the dead bugger is researched I’ll know what the weakness is and can pick units accordingly to color and gain new units. Each one have a unique color. Some colors beat other colors,  while some units I unlock with enough research.  Before each mission, I had to pick what units to have available in combat. Now that is well and all, but at least they keyboard layout works. The incredible baron uses a keyboard mouse combo, it mostly works, but the cursor will go outside the border and onto my other screen. Replay-ability comes from unlocking more units, getting a better score on previous levels and leveling up. Even when losing a level, the research progress will slowly rise.

20160804095119_1As stated earlier, even if I don’t enjoy this kind of gameplay much. Mostly because I like a hands on approach. There are two fantastic things about this game though. The music is fantastic, it’s full of life and quite in theme with a Caribbean palm covered pirate island. The other thing is the graphics, which are vibrant and colorful, with a lot of charm, not to mention they are well drawn. Meanwhile the plot of The incredible baron is a weird tale of exploration, science and a bucket load of puns. Regardless I will not tattle the tale, because that would be spoiler and that is not what I’m about. Most people will enjoy it more than me, but all in all I would recommend trying the incredible baron;  on Steam, IOS or Android.

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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 review.

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Bird of Light

Bird of Light

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Various farm animals talks among each other as a human girl with red hair appear at the farm. These highly stylized and talkative animals are  a cheery bunch that likes to stand in the way a lot. Much like Aesop’s fables the story is a metaphor, told through the animals that slowly disappear, one by one. Which would be a good thing if it meant less of the damnable herd would stop blocking my path, so get used to see the restart screen a lot. I will not spoil the story at this point in time or talk about my thoughts on the theme. Bird of light is about an ever running ginger that can turn on intersections, jump over obstacles and reverse direction. Sound easy right? Think again, this is a quite tricky and slightly addictive platform game indeed.

20160724194007_1Most of the map is made up of squares with intersecting paths, seeded with things to bypass, floating blue eggs, some powerups, tokens and a key to the castle.

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You will die a lot

Not only that some of the paths I had to place manually in order to optimize route, since at least one of these goals have to be completed in order to progress the story. Eventually the levels become more and more complicated with a metric ton of cows, sheep and pigs to dodge.

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Some assembly needed

Tokens are used to show where pickups are hidden on the map. Unless the goal is to speed run the map I usually just go for the eggs as they will progress the story. As seen in the screen shots the graphic is both polished and stylized, which is quite pleasant to look at make Bird of Light stand out. It is a bold move to go with such a colorful art direction. I certainly love the  ever so satisfying Matrix style long jump, which works surprisingly well.

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Princess of the castle!

While the graphic is nice and all, there is a distinct lack of settings. For some reason I got thrown straight into a tutorial with the music blaring. Which brings me to the next point and problem, while the music is nice and decent, it does get quite repetitive and imposing after a while. Luckily it can be muted, it’s just a bit annoying that I have to use the audio mixer in Windows to lower the volume.

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A handy to do list!

Challenges and re-playability comes from the various badges as seen here, they mostly explains themselves. There are  Steam achievements as well. For people whom enjoy a good and topical story with a twist. A truck load of nail-bitingly challenging levels, with some fun and well implanted mechanics, look no further.  though I was more interested in getting through the story.

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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 review.

Njål Sand