• The Gamer's Gazette: Issue XIII

    Issue XIII

    The end of 2016 fast approaches, and as you read this, chances are it will already be 2017. On a global scale it has not been a good year, but in games it truly has. We have had long awaited sequels, surprising returns to form from some of the medium's oldest heavy hitters, but one or two disappointments as well. Overall though, I have to say 2016 has been one of the best years in gaming in a long time.

    Soon the time to look forward to next year's batch of games is coming, but I'd also like to point your attention to our annual Game of the Year competition. If there were any games you enjoyed this year, go and nominate them!

    In other news, the Gamer's Gazette Steam group, which achieved Curator status a few months ago, is now an open Steam group! If you want to see what games we think are good, or just want to discuss games, have a look.

    But before you go running off to nominations or Steam, why don't you have a read through Issue XIII of the Gamer's Gazette? In this issue Gen. Chris returns to tell us about Victorian London, and I've had a look at three of the best indie games of 2016.

    And as always, I believe there is a review in everyone; if you want yours published, why not contact me or one of the other writers?

    Gamer's Gazette Director

    Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review
    Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review

    Assassin's Creed Syndicate (2015)
    Assassin's Creed Syndicate
    It is 1868, and the Industrial Revolution is nearing its end. In the city of London, twin Assassins Jacob and Evie Frye arrive to find it controlled by the Templars. Though they both follow the Creed, the twins have vastly different views on how to return the Assassins to influence in London. The twins must utilize the criminal elements within the city to help bring about the downfall of the Templars as well as discover the location of the Shroud of Eden, a Piece of Eden that is rumored to be able to make its wielder immortal.
    In the modern day, the Assassins are on the run. The second Great Purge is in full swing, and the Templars are closer than ever to hunting them down completely. They must use their skills and the Helix to gain important knowledge of the past in order to find the secret relic that the twins in the past sought after. But with every step they take they come closer and closer to their own destruction.
    Utilizing the engine pioneered by Unity, Assassinís Creed Syndicate brings Industrial Age London to life in an overall stunning way. Like Paris, London is quite beautiful and quite large, its greatest extent being about a mile and a half across. And unlike other games, London is represented in its entirety; though there are clearly defined borders, Ubisoft made it so that the city appears to continue on and on in any direction, only stopping you from exploring further as those areas are not relevant to the story. This gives the fantastic illusion of the city being appropriately sized and set up, perhaps making it the most accurate game yet in terms of world building. The city comprises a number of districts including Winchester, Lambeth, and even the Thames River itself. The Thames is fun, and a fantastic re-creation of how busy the river was; either of the protagonists can use the shipping or the river itself to cross the expanse rather than using the bridges, and there is plenty of boats to raid along the way. The detail in the buildings and the city itself is magnificent, and combined with the overall size of the world, really makes London feel as if it were a living city. Additionally, Ubisoft has improved on the map mechanic from Unity, making it look a fully representative 3D map with all the proper features and scale.
    Syndicate brings a number of new gameplay mechanics to the franchise, one of the most important of which is the rope launcher. Acquired from a slain Templar, the rope launcher allows either of the protagonists the ability to quickly climb tall buildings as well as form a sort of zip line across buildings or streets, allowing easy traversal of London. While it may feel like somewhat of a copout to have give climbing an easy alternative, the player will find the rope launcher necessary given the attention to detail with London. Ubisoft has ensured that the tall buildings and wide streets of Victorian London were present in the game, which means that it is incredibly difficult to climb such buildings as well as cross the streets from building to building without great effort. The rope launcher eliminates this problem and presents a fun way to move around London. The player can also use the rope launcher to create assassination opportunities in places where there would otherwise be none.
    Another new addition that also aids in movement across the city is the carriage system. For the first time in the series, the player can commandeer horse-drawn carriages to ride from point A to point B. These carriages are utilized by civilians, police, and gang members alike, so there are plenty of opportunities to hijack a variety of them as well as engage in high speed pursuits as well as use the carriage to damage enemy ones that get too close. The carriages are used in missions, side activities, and free roam alike, so the system is heavily used to complement the game. The system is fun and an interesting twist on the use of horses, which has not been used since Assassinís Creed III. The only problem that really emerges is the sometimes iffy controls as well as the fact that it is possible to run down and kill civilians with the carriages. This is of course a contradiction of the core of the creed, which is to not harm innocents, and since the Animus/Helix does not punish you for such things, it is possible to freely ride around the city and mow down crowds of civilians. Itís not a very stealthy nor creed-like addition, but it does not exactly hamper the fun of the mechanic.
    A final new mechanic to movement is the the introduction of trains and river boats to the franchise. Jacob and Evie capture a train early in the game and convert it into a mobile hide out, and there are trains that move throughout the city. These trains can be ridden on and in some cases robbed for experience and money. Related to this is the boats that sail up and down the Thames. These boats can be ridden on and raided as well, and their movement allows for a fun sort of crossing. The experience with the these two new systems is a bit mixed. The Thames itself is quite fun overall, and a nice feature in the game. However, though it is an interesting addition, I donít find the trains to be all that useful as it is quicker to simply move throughout the city on carriage or with the rope launcher. Overall though, both offer an interesting flavor to the game, and contribute to the overall atmosphere of Victorian London; without them, something would certainly be missing.
    The missions and the story have, in some ways, been greatly improved over Unity. Both Jacob and Evie have their own missions as well as their own story in the quest to liberate London from the Templars, contrasting their different aims. Jacob wishes to focus primarily on eliminating Templar influence to aid the poor working classes that are being oppressed by them, while Evieís aims are to stop the Templars from acquiring a Piece of Eden that is hidden somewhere in the city. While these are diverging goals for certain, they both exemplify the creed of the Assassins, and as the story goes on, their quests merge into one unified goal. The story is good, to be sure, however it does have its own problems. For one, while both Evie and Jacobís quests are important, there is a clear inequality in the actual number of missions each has. Evieís story only contains roughly one-fourth of the number of overall main missions. Jacobís story takes clear center stage in a game that features two separate but supposedly equal protagonists, and this is a problem. It is clear that Ubisoft, under pressure from the backlash of no female protagonists in Unity despite the co-op mission structure, tacked on Evieís missions to sort of appease outcry. This makes it feel like Evieís story was an afterthought; while she must have been included from the very beginning, her own missions probably originally belonged to Jacob and tweaked for his aims. Itís a shame, as her missions and goals are quite interesting, and would have been better if they had been more fleshed out.
    Another issue that comes from having two protagonists is the somewhat disjointed nature of the story. There is no clear chain of events within the game, as within each sequence one can play Jacobís or Evieís missions in any order unless they are directly related to previous missions. Combined with the already haphazard switching back and forth, the story is somewhat convoluted and hard to follow. It also is a rather bland and generic story, if my summary of it at the beginning of the review is any indication. The modern day is also kind of uninspired as well, at least until the very end, and requires little to no interaction by the player yet again. I find myself needing to play the game again or at least certain sequences in order to grasp a better understanding of the overall story, and that should not be the case. The story remains much more interesting than Arnoís in revolutionary Paris, but these problems cannot really be overlooked. However, for the first time since the very beginning of the franchise (not counting Rogue), the protagonists begin the game as established members of the Assassin Brotherhood. While perhaps an odd thing to praise, it eliminates much of what has comprised previous stories; the need to join the Brotherhood, and in most cases, the need for some sort of revenge. Ezio, Connor, and Arno all join the Assassins because of some sort of revenge, with Shay and Edward being the odd exceptions. This is, in my opinion, a step forward to reduce the repetitiveness of previous games.
    The side missions and activities are also very well fleshed out in this game. There is plenty to do for both Jacob and Evie, and each of their mission chains allow for side missions. Oddly enough these activities and missions can be done by either twin, which one would think would violate the rules of the animus and the memories of individuals. Either way, the system works. It is often through these side activities that the player meets some famous historical figures such as Charles Darwin and Karl Marx, whose mission chains can be quite fun as well as more fully fleshing out the twins ideologies and their goals. The side activities consist mostly of liberating the city of London, which means gang fighting between The Rooks and the gang associated with the Templars. These activities are certainly fun, but they can also be somewhat repetitive after a time. Nonetheless they are good additions to the game and also increase the variety offered by the overall campaign.
    Outside of the Helix/Animus, the modern story has thankfully been improved on compared to Unity as well. While there was no clear story in that game, Syndicateís modern day has a clear, albeit non-interactive, story. The modern day is in some ways a continuation of both Unity and Rogue, further tying the latter into the main canon of the game. The inclusion of Rebecca and Shaun from previous games was a definite highlight, and the story is driven forward in a meaningful way in my opinion. I am aware that many people disliked the modern day story as well as the twist at the end, but I believe that the modern day is still necessary for the game as well as the franchise. I for one enjoyed the end of it, as it shows that the past is still linked to the present and that both are relevant for the overall story. However, there is still some work that needs to be done, particularly to make it more interactive as the last game that we actually interacted in the modern day was Rogue.
    Combat has received an overhaul in Syndicate. Eschewing the multiple different weapon and armor types of Unity, Syndicate instead focuses on a core group of weapons and armor/outfits. As the game takes place in a different era, the weapons themselves are wholly different from previous games. Instead of large weapons such as swords and axes, Jacob and Evie have access to multiple types of kukris, sword canes, and brass knuckles. Each weapon type has more powerful variants that can be unlocked with game progression, and each weapon deliver differing methods of death. For the most part, combat feels fairly repetitive when it comes to whittling down enemy health, but that feeling disappears when it comes to death animations, which now include multi-kills that can go up to four enemies killed in one swift animation. This is achieved by lowering enemy health to a ďnear deathĒ status, and when multiple enemies near the protagonists are in this state the resulting multi-kills can occur. Combat is a bit easier than Unity was, however it is still more difficult than previous games, which is a good balance in my opinion. It is easy to become overwhelmed early in the game, though, as the combat takes some getting used to.
    In addition to combat you also have the ability to level your characters throughout the game. Spanning from 1-10, these levels are necessary in order to equip different weapons as well as give Evie and Jacob upgrades to their skills. These skills can be both shared as well as unique to individuals, and they are valuable in upgrading as they help greatly throughout the campaign. Both the skills and the upgrades are especially necessary as the enemies have their own levels in this game, and it is entirely possible to die to a high level, single thug if your skills/levels are not good enough. You can also use a similar feature to upgrade your gang, The Rooks, so that they may better aid you throughout the game. I feel both of these features are welcome additions, and further add to the role playing nature of the game as you do have to make choices on where to spend your points and money. While you will eventually get all the upgrades it still makes early choices important in how you will play the campaign.
    One final thing that is worth discussing is the fact that unlike the previous games Ubisoft has focused entirely on the single player campaign. For the first time since Assassinís Creed II, there is no multiplayer. As someone who enjoys the single player campaigns nearly exclusively in an era where developers are focusing too much on multiplayer (in my opinion), this was a refreshing change. However, there is one clear area that the game lacks; the ability to play as both the twins in co-op style. It would have been fun, and would have been similar to how they did it in Unity, but for whatever reason Ubisoft decided not to include it. This might be further indication that Evieís part of the story was shoe-horned in from the criticism hurled at Unity for the lack of the ability to play as a female. Either way, it is disappointing and would have felt far more natural to include than the co-op campaign in Unity. In addition, and as already mentioned, the story has many flaws, though it is still a huge improvement over Unity in nearly every way. But there is still some progress that needs to be made to bring it back to the greatness that was present in the first few games, especially since we are definitely nearing the end of the story from the modern perspective.
    It would be worth mentioning that there are a couple more negatives worthy of discussion. Despite the beauty of the game, it is still clear that some of the graphics have been downgraded from Unity, and the absence of large numbers of people in Industrial Age London is quite noticeable. Obviously this was done to increase the performance of the game compared to the issues present in Unity, but it is still a slight disappointment that it came to that. There were also some slightly glitchy mechanics that did occur throughout the game, indicating that it was not quite as polished as gamers would prefer. It especially happened during combat fairly often, which contributed greatly to early frustrations with the combat system. The glitches in the game thankfully never reached the degree that Unity had, yet still occurred enough that it warranted being mentioned. Other than that and the earlier mentioned issues, the game does not have that many issues.
    Overall, I would highly recommend Assassinís Creed Syndicate to any fans of the franchise as well as to people in general. It is in every way an improvement over Unity, and honestly is a vastly superior game to its predecessor. Its scale isnít as big, but that only benefits it with a more focused story, greater performance, and an overall better experience than Unity provided to its fans. It still isnít perfect, as it has many flaws, and the franchise has yet to recapture the magic of the earlier games. But this is a step in the right direction, and I hope to see further improvements in the future. Any fan of this series as well as those curious about Victorian London should definitely play this game.


    Personal note: I want to take a minute here to do something I never do and talk about my personal life. Part of the reason I love Assassin's Creed so much is because of my love of history, a love that is not unique to the people on this site. I owe that love entirely to my father, who fostered my interest in the subject from a pretty early age. He further encouraged it with numerous trips to places of historical significance and also made sure I always stuck to my goal of becoming a history teacher, something that I accomplished this year.

    This game was the last gift I received from my dad before he died last fall, as it was an early birthday present. I was in fact playing it when I got the phone call stating that he passed away at the hospital from complications relating to the cancer discovered that summer. For whatever reason, this game helped prevent me from losing my mind that day and the days that came afterward, and will always be special to me because of that and because of how much fun it was.

    I'd like to dedicate this review to my dad. I know that, despite his views on video games, he would have loved to see such historical eras come to life for me and other fans to enjoy.
    Gen. Chris

    Steamworld Heist Review
    Steamworld Heist
    Steamworld Heist

    Listen to this while reading whydontcha!

    Steamworld Heist is a tactical, turnbased game about shooting hats off the heads of robots first released on handheld consoles, but now available on practically anything. Yes, even the Wii U! It was developed by indie studio Image & Form, who previously made Steamworld Dig, and was released in 2015 on the 3DS and 2016 on everything else. The setting: steampunk space! The crew: a rag-tag team of outlaws in space! The catch: evil space robots! Yes, this is Firefly but with robots and with an artstyle that would make Ori and the Blind Forest weak in the knees, with a lot of browns and greens in the early missions, that later turn into chrome and red environments as you move up in the (steam)world. You are captain Piper, a smuggler, but morally good bot just trying to make a living, constantly evading the royal fleet, while robbing smaller ships where she can. However, something terrible is going on in the (steam)world.

    You catch news of terrible things happening to the remains of bots, being put back together in a dark form of technomancy. The royal space force wonít do anything, so itís down to your rag-tag crew to make the world alright again. Unfortunately, as the game starts your crew has been scrapped, with two exceptions. Your pilot Wonky, and your grumpy old seadog sidekick Seabrass.

    The game itself consists of landing one to four of your crewmates on an enemy spaceship, and completing different objectives aboard it. These objectives can reign from ďkill all the enemiesĒ to ďget the epic lootĒ, or ďget out alive!Ē. What really matters is the combat itself, as this is where the game shines. As previously stated, the game features turnbased tactical gameplay, similar to something like XCOM or Invisible Inc, but in a 2d sidescroller. You can move your crew a certain amount of tiles to the left or right, up ladders or down holes, and shoot. (This is the really exciting part!) When you take a shot, you aim yourself. Of course guns are heavy though, so the arm of the shooter sways a little; some weapons have laser sights making it easy to see exactly where the bullet will go, though you still have to press shoot at the right moment. Others are more intuitive, so you have to guess a little, and grenade launchers will of course have different trajectory and characteristics than an uzi. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you fail. The fact that the bullets can bounce, and that missing a headshot often means you shoot off a nice salvageable hat means that missing often isnít as bad as it sounds though, as it can have unexpected results.

    Let's kill some scrappers!

    The hats are a purely cosmetic part of the game that you can easily ignore, but their inclusion are ingenious. You will mostly see the same hats on the enemy bots, assault bots have a blue ushanka or a pirate hat and royal spacefleet bots will have a standard military helmet, but sometimes you find a green ushanka, and you realise you can get the South Park inspired achievement now, because youíve got both the Greasy Blue hat and the Red Poofball hat from before! The hats have no actual effects on gameplay, but it is an excellent addition that gives the game a very distinct personality, and they mean that even if you lose in the short term, you can get a consolation prize.

    Laser sights make life easier, but only some bots can use snipers

    The missions are structured in a linear manner, but can be replayed infinitely. To encourage revisiting old missions, especially those you may have had some trouble with, there is a star rating on them, usually three but sometimes one or four. You gain two stars for completing objectives, and another for obtaining a box of Epic Loot. If you however lose a soldier or two during the mission, stars will be taken away from your final score, and while the incapacitated crewmate wonít be killed, they will gain no experience for that mission, and you may want to replay it to gain a full star rating. These stars essentially represent how well known you are; when you start the game, or enter a new area people wonít know who captain Piper and her rag-tag crew (have you noticed I like that phrase?) are, and will be distrustful. However, gaining stars in that area will mean potential crewmates will become available, powerful gear will become available for purchasing and new areas of space will open up.

    This is the second of three areas, The Core.

    Every one of these characters has their own little backstory, their own quirks and their own playstyles, though some of their styles blend together. Piper is a sniper, but since she is the captain she also has an ability called Inspire that gives crewmates close to her a damage buff, as well as a healing ability that fully restores her own and any inspired charactersí health. Seabrass is a damage dealer, so when he takes damage, his next attack will also be more powerful. A fish-robot named Billy can move a turn after killing an enemy, and will restore a point of health after dealing melee damage. The great Ivanski is a tank, with abilities that can make him unkillable unless he only has 1 health left, or invincible for one turn.

    There are a total of nine characters in the main game, and another introduced in the Outsider DLC. They are all interesting to play with for their own reasons, and have their own pros and cons in different situations, but you never feel like youíve chosen the wrong character for a mission. The open nature of the mission selection means that you are free to experiment as much as you like with different combinations of characters and weapons as well, so if you like me forgot to level up a few characters in the early missions, you can easily go back for some extra experience points.

    The loadout screen lets you choose guns, gear and, of course, hats.

    What can I say about this game? It is beautiful, the music is fantastic and fits excellently into the steampunk theme, the gameplay is spellbindingly good to the degree that hours can sink away without you even noticing. There really is nothing about this game I can criticise, which comes as a surprise to even myself! It knows exactly what it wants to do, and it does it with a perfection that is uncommon in indie developers. I will watch out for their future work with great interest.

    10/10 Horrendously Malformed Space Pigs

    Darkest Dungeon Review
    Darkest Dungeon
    Darkest Dungeon Review

    Dare YOU enter the Darkest Dungeon?

    My favorite hero is all alone. Around the bloodied crusader lie the dead bodies of his former comrades; they are Sir Killsalot, Lady Healsalot and the last to fall Finny the Kid, the crusaders oldest companion. The kleptomaniac zealot raises his sword for a last charge, barely managing to hit the oozing, fleshy mutated swine laughing at his misery. And then he dies alone, driven insane by what he has seen happen to his companions. The Darkest Dungeon is a cruel mistress.

    I reckon this is the average first 5 hours of the game

    Darkest Dungeon is a 2D side-scrolling dungeon crawler featuring party management and turn-based combat, as well as a bunch of death and despair. It is developed by indie studio Red Hook Studios, and after roughly a year in early access it finally got a full release in January 2016, though it has been given plenty of post launch content and an expansion is announced for 2017. You can play it now on PC, PS4, Vita, Linux and Mac.

    My first game ended in 3 hours after I lost the majority of my heroes in three terrible dungeons. This is a game that wants to see you suffer. It saves all the time, meaning once someone dies, they stay dead. And every death, as well as practically every other action, means the remaining soldiers get more and more stressed, until they go insane, or die of a heart attack.

    The base gameplay consists of dungeon crawling with a party of four heroes through a randomly generated dungeon with several rooms filled with lovecraftian monstrosities, loot and excellent narration. The basics of the game is quite simple; once you encounter enemies, you take turns who getís to hit who first, and then whoever dies first loses. Even if your hero looses all health there is still a Deathís Door mechanic that means they can be healed next turn; They will have considerable trauma, but they might still live to fight another day.

    This is what yer average combat situation looks like when their bloody QUARELLERS KEEP HITTING.

    An integral part of the combat is party composition; every class of hero has one or two spots in a party where they do their best, so a tank or damage dealer will do best on the front, whereas a healer or ranged character will do better in the back. Where a hero is positioned actually changes the abilities they can use, so if say an eldritch tentacle pulls your healer from the back to the front, it can potentially disrupt all your attacks for the next turn, because you need to get everyone into a place where they can be useful again.

    Notice characters with ranged abilities stay at the back and close combat ones stay at the front.

    The stress system that haunts the heroes also do a lot to make the combat interesting. Your party will always gain some stress in combat, but when you take a bad hit or someone dies, chances are someone will panic and take their own turn. Depending on their personality this means they might attack the enemy without your supervision, lie down and give up, or attack your own party! Not everyone is driven insane by the stress though; the system can also single out paragons among your rag-tag crew.

    Carmangelo the Jester truly is a saint walking amongst lesser men.

    So all is not doom and gloom then; After a quest, whether it was successful or abandoned, you return to the Hamlet, to let your broken heroes gain a moment of respite, if your coffers can afford it. If they are religious, a day in the abbey will reduce their stress levels and if they like a drink, the tavern is always open. The traits of a hero will determine what treatments work best for them, and possibly what treatments they are banned from. These cures are expensive however, and that money has to go a long way; upgrading your heroesí equipment, buying torches, food and medical equipment for the next foray into the unknown, trying to get rid of negative quirks, such as Love Interest, meaning the hero will only visit the brothel for stress relief.

    The story is a bit difficult to tackle. Mostly it is there are exposition, and the most interesting narratives come from the combat itself, the lonely crusader who slew a boss when all his comrades had fallen, or the stalwart leper who was at Deathís Door three times in a single battle, but still managed to come back home. The progression of the story is done by bosses; there are four areas of the game with different types of enemies, and after beating a certain number of dungeons a boss dungeon appears. After you kill the boss, you progress to the next level, where you get another boss, and another. In reality this is a grind to get your heroes good enough to enter the final dungeon, the Darkest Dungeon, where the evil that creeps across the land emanated from.

    Got that mad cash now-WHAT DO YOU MEAN A NIGHT IN THE TAVERN COSTS 2000 GOLD?!

    Assuming any of your heroes survive long enough, they will gain new traits, and over time Resolve, which in practice means what level they are. Every level of Resolve makes the hero harder to kill and unlocks new gear and weapons, but also makes the hero more expensive. A treatment for a Resolve 1 character is considerably cheaper than that of a Resolve 3 character. You also canít cheese the low level dungeons with a team of high level heroes; a hero will only go on a mission to a dungeon if the dungeons level is one level beneath them or higher. Going to a high level mission with low level characters is allowed, but every level of difference causes them massive levels of stress.

    The post-mission screen shows your heroes new quirks, afflictions, stress and Resolve.

    Darkest Dungeon has an excellent gothic art style, that despite the dark subject matter is as pretty as anything. Well, maybe not what you would call pretty, but it has a certain kind of beauty to it. All the heroes are detailed and lovingly crafted, as are the monsters and even the backdrops you walk through. The Hamlet, while only ever seen from one angle, feels like home after the umpteenth time you return to it, the glory of your last victory slowly evaporating as you see what it will cost to get everyone back on their feet.

    The game really manages to get you immersed in its world, which is helped no little by the excellent narrator following every step you make. If you didn't already, go back to the top of this review to watch the opening cinematic, because it really is worth the 2 minutes.

    What Chris Limbloss doesn't know is that Very Smell next to him is an egoistic kleptomaniac now. Don't judge my naming conventions, OK?

    I really love this game. It is designed to crush your spirit every time you think you know how to game it, and it does so well. You are never on top, because that is the point of it. That said, the randomness of it can be infuriating. Missing several attacks in a row is very possible if you are unlucky, and when that happens it does feel like you have been cheated, potentially of your favourite heroes. If you are unlucky enough to have an entire party killed, the grind of getting the next fresh recruits to a level where you can progress the game can be frustrating and time consuming, but since the base game is so competent I never saw it as a problem apart from the initial disappointment of losing heroes (not to mention all the money I had invested in those ungrateful gits!).

    What the hell Chris, why would you go licking things you've found on the floor?

    If challenge is something you enjoy, and certain eventual failures donít drive you insane, do have a look at this game, because it really is something special. Just remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.
    8/10 Rotting Pig Abominations!

    Hue Review
    Hue Review

    Hue (which let's be honest is just a hippie way of spelling 'Hugh')

    Hue is a sidescrolling puzzle platformer developed by Fiddlesticks Games and published by Curve Digital. As the name suggests, it is a game all about colours. You play the titular Hue, who one day wakes up to find his mother missing; a letter explains that she used to be a scientist, working on a ring that allows itís wearer to see colour. But due to a mishap with her experiment, she has become invisible, a colour outside of the capabilities of the human eye. It is up to Hue then, to find all the pieces of the ring and find her.

    Colour?! Soon you'll be telling me there's a third dimension too!

    At first the game is monochrome, but quickly Hue finds the first part of the ring; a light blue. Armed with Aqua, Hue ventures forth into a dungeon outside of his little village. Once inside the grotto, Hue finds a rubble of light blue stones block his way; and that a miner is trapped on the other side! Luckily we just found Aqua, and using the colour ring it turns out you can change the colours of the world using your motherís ring. A light blue pile of debris will disappear if you turn the background the same colour, but will reappear if you change to another colour.

    The first few levels of the game are very straight forward, jump over the chasms, change the colour to get rid of an obstacle and move the box so you can jump onto a ledge you otherwise wouldnít have been able to reach. But soon you realise those first levels were just there to get you acquainted with your tools, the jumping and the colour ring. At a steady pace the game gives you more colours as you progress through the dungeons, and soon you are not only dealing with boxed that need to be moved, but lasers that will kill you, paint that can change the colour of boxes, skulls that will come crashing down if you go underneath them, but can also serve as lifts to get up. And spike pits, because it is a platformer after all.

    Luckily Hue has magic powers, otherwise this would be the end of his road; listening to a miner starve to death.

    You can die, but the game is quite generous with checkpoints. The game is split into seven levels, and each level is split into a number of rooms. A room is essentially a puzzle; figure out how to get from the door you entered, to the door that will lead you to the next room. As I said earlier, this starts out simple but gets progressively more complex as you go along, until you are dodging lasers, changing colours mid air and platforming seemingly impossible levels. The game is excellent at slowly getting you introduced to new concepts, without text or speech. That is why the game starts out so simple too, so that it always knows exactly how much you know about it.

    An example of a puzzle where you need to be quick.

    Some puzzles are quite long and expect you to move quickly between colours to avoid getting crushed to death by falling stones, and others are slower, but expect you to think more. This is where Hue really shines, when it doesnít expect you to be fast, but smart. Playing on a Steam Controller I often found the colour changing controls not to be as precise as they should be, meaning I would often plummet to my death because I changed to the wrong colour. The slow puzzles sometimes made me stop for a bit, just staring with an open mouth, but trial and error goes a long way to get the gist of a puzzle. After that I figured out the specifics pretty quickly most of the time, and I was never stuck on a puzzle for so long it made me want to stop playing. What at a first glance seems impossible, can often turn out to be very simple once you understand the underlying mechanics.

    A puzzle where you need to be smart.

    There is a story in between all of the puzzles as well. Before and after every level you listen to a letter from your mother, describing how she studied colours at the University, how she fell in love with a professor there and some general thoughts on the science and philosophy of colours. The letters are accompanied by corridors, ladders and stairs, so you get to do some simple platforming while not having to concentrate on puzzles or stand still while listening to the story. It is not the most intuitive way of telling a story, but it is functional, and I always enjoyed the break between levels.

    Exposition time! (It is pretty though, so I'm not complaining).

    I really liked the time I spent with Hue. It took me just under 6 hours to finish the game the first time, and thatís not counting the 28 collectibles you can go back and try to find if you are in the business of achievement hunting. The whole game was a genuinely lovely experience from start to finish, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in puzzle platformers, who just want to tickle their brain a bit.

    9/10 Colourfully Afflicted Pigs

    List of Contributors/Other
    List of Contributors

    Gen. Chris - Writer

    IlluminatiRex - Writer

    Meelis13 - Writer

    Radboud - GotY Art

    Mhaedros- Editor

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      This game was the last gift I received from my dad before he died last fall, as it was an early birthday present. I was in fact playing it when I got the phone call stating that he passed away at the hospital from complications relating to the cancer discovered that summer. For whatever reason, this game helped prevent me from losing my mind that day and the days that came afterward, and will always be special to me because of that and because of how much fun it was.

      I'd like to dedicate this review to my dad. I know that, despite his views on video games, he would have loved to see such historical eras come to life for me and other fans to enjoy.

      one of the powers of videogames (if they are good ones ) is that of relieving us of the ugly things of life. My condolences mate.

      Great issue again, I love to see so many indie games put forward, there's actually quite a lot of excellent material amongst those titles
    1. Salahuddin Ayyubi's Avatar
      Salahuddin Ayyubi -
      In my Openion Attila Total War is be the best
    1. Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar
      Shankbot de Bodemloze -
      Great issue guys, just had the chance to catch up on it.

      So sorry to hear about your dad Chris, my best wishes to you and your family, and I'm sure he is proud of you now doing something you both loved.
    1. TheDarkKnight's Avatar
      TheDarkKnight -
      Thanks Shanky.

      Now...How about we focus on the three reviews that Mhaedros wrote. He's trying to catch up to my record for number of reviews in one issue
    1. Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar
      Shankbot de Bodemloze -
      There are 4 reviews and 4 contributors listed as Writers, I didn't realise he had written 3! You guys need to include by-lines or something.
    1. Ngugi's Avatar
      Ngugi -
      Good work here!

      Additionally I find all review scores seems more legit when measured in some kind of swine