Let’s take a look at … – Cross of the Dutchman

Cross of the Dutchman is based on the true story of Pier Gerlofs Donia, a legend in the medieval province of Frisna in Western Europe. When his land is threatened by invading Saxon troops, Pier takes the lead on gathering a small force to back them out of their land.

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Originally classified as an RPG, this new release from Triangle Studios has been re-labeled as action/ adventure. There are very light RPG elements- leveling up a limited number of health, stamina, and attack options and stats using gold collected in the game. Dialogue with other characters you encounter gives a basic story in between missions and combat. The mini map identifies the direction of your next objective, as well as enemy locations and direction. Gameplay is very straight forward- you attack with your fists or your sword, and each attack style has a “boosted” style that is part of your RPG decision making.

My feelings about this game are conflicted, so I will just list the pros and cons and let you decide!

PROS:

  • Gorgeous colorful graphics
  • Likeable characters
  • Artistic cut-scenes
  • Straightforward combat/easy to learn system
  • Useful mini-map
  • Low price
  • Nice soundtrack and sound effects
  • Good for achievement-hunters

CONS:

  • Very short game (estimated 4-8 hours depending on your style)- probably not much replay value
  • Attack direction is often difficult to get right- end up punching or swinging at air a lot
  • Stealth mode sections can be incredibly frustrating, especially when the save point is several minutes back
  • Some lag experienced during character dialogue and one fight
  • Little depth to the characters or story
  • Not too many areas- spend a lot of time running back and forth between already-explored areas

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I think this game has a lot of potential, but as it stands, it doesn’t contain much depth. I’d like to see the attack issue cleared up. I saw others on the forums mentioning this issue as well, so maybe this developer, who has been very kind and receptive to reviews and comments, will find a way to get that fixed. However, for the price and despite its limitations, this game is worth picking up to have some casual fighting fun.

Tl;dr –  Cross of the Dutchman is an action adventure game with light RPG elements that is worth checking out for its colorful graphics and simple play style. The game is light on story line and character development, but fans of medieval history should pick up this casual based-on-a-true-story game.

Rating – 7.5/10

Purchase – Steam £5.99/$8.99 (15% discount until September 17th £5.09/$7.64)

Trailer –

Let’s talk about … – Rogue Legacy

I’m hooked on Indie games because they’re unique and cheap. Developers want to get their name out there, and to have a great game, it has to stand out from the others and not cost an arm and a leg like well-known franchise games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.  There are so many fun, creative games out there, and you can buy them for next to nothing.  As a PC gamer, I comb through the following places to find my next inexpensive purchases:

As a reviewer for this site, I am also lucky enough to have access to game keys given to us by developers who want us to review their products.

Some games aren’t that great or just don’t interest me. Some games are fun but I stop playing after racking up a few hours. However, sometimes I score the game that grabs all of my attention for hours and hours of play time, leading me to read forums, wiki pages, and guides for more info. Oh, and I talk about it. A lot.

At the end of April this past year, my Steam app on my phone notified me that something in my wishlist went on sale. I was delighted to see that it was Rogue Legacy, a rogue-like RPG platformer released in 2013 by Cellar Door Games that was both recommended to me and I was also warned about- apparently it is difficult as hell. $4 later, I installed this new game and started playing.

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I kid you not, I died within seconds.

Flabbergasted and a bit disappointed, I tried again.

Dead. Super quick.

I turned to my husband (also a gamer) in shock. I was starting to wonder if this was even worth $4. He just shook his head at me- he was used to me starting a new game at least once a week. Pretty sure he expected me to give up on this one quicker than usual.

I pressed on, though. Not sure why. I have very little patience, but something about this game drew me in. Slowly, I began to learn how to kill enemies, gaining gold so I could upgrade my skill tree, finding blueprints for equipment so I could get more passive protection and skills, finding runes to make the armor even better.

Within a few hours, probably between 10-20, I was fully addicted. The kills are so satisfying.  The traits on the characters (to be explained later) made me laugh. Grinding wasn’t a chore like it is in most games. In fact, after a death, I would have a hard time NOT going back in for another round.

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Now, 69 hours, 22/28 achievements, and 45 screenshots later, I’ve beat the game THREE times. I’ve maxed out every point in my skill tree, found and purchased every blueprint for every piece of equipment, and found and purchased every rune. After game, game+, and game+2, game+3 didn’t prove to be any more difficult, and I was forced to give up playing this fabulous gem. All I have left are 6 achievements that are insanely tough, if not impossible for me to earn.

Here’s the premise. You play offspring of your previous hero, fighting evil in a procedurally-generated map. That child dies in battle, then you choose between three of their offspring to take into the next battle. This is an RPG, but you don’t buff up one character- you upgrade the entire available set of skills and equipment. Carefully choosing your child each run is important. They will be one of several hero types (assassin, barbarian, etc) and come with none to a few traits. These traits are hilarious in some instances. Your child might have IBS (farting while jumping) or corprolalia (cussing after being hit), for example. Other traits are helpful, like better knockback, or no foot-pulse, which prevents floor spikes from being triggered. Some make your life difficult, like vertigo (the screen is flipped) or ectomorph (you’re skinny and enemies knock you back far).

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The map is divided into four main areas- castle, forest, tower, and darkness. Rooms can be empty or full of enemies. They might contain chicken drumsticks (health) or mana potions.  They might have coins, treasure boxes, containing runes, blueprints, or character upgrades.  You might run into special challenges, games or mini bosses. There’s even a room where you can change the game music. Each main area has a boss. Survive each area and defeat the boss, and the main door at the entrance of the map will light up, signifying that you beat that boss.  Defeat all four bosses and the main door will open. This will allow you to beat the two-part game boss.

Another way to beat bosses, which I haven’t been able to do yet, is in remix mode. After you beat an area boss, you can go back into that room and attempt to battle with a character the game has chosen for you. This is insanely difficult and despite how well I did otherwise in the game, I don’t last more than a few seconds with these guys. If I could, I might be able to get the rest of the achievements.

The game is simple to learn, but you will die, over and over and over again. But it’s ok- each upgrade will inspire you to try again. It’s insanely addicting. After you die, a screen will show up with all of the enemies you killed lined up. It’s fun to try and make the number more than last time.

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The graphics are cute, retro, and colorful. The music never gets old- I even downloaded the soundtrack. This game has full controller support and game play was very satisfying. The RPG aspect of this was extremely fair and even. The platforming is challenging but not something that will make you pull out your hair.  Replay value is great, and even at full price ($14.99), this game is worth the buy.  And guess what!  It’s also available on PS4 and Xbox One!

Tl;dr – This humorous, retro-style RPG rogue-like platformer is addicting and SO satisfying, with great replay value and a great price point, even at full price.  I can’t recommend it enough and can only hope that the developers might consider a sequel.

Rating – 10/10

Purchase – Steam £10.99/$14.99

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Wolfgang Fights the Future

Upon entering the game you are presented with the main menu. It is very easy to navigate, the buttons around the menu are easily identifiable so you’re easily able to change your settings and the music to your desire. Upon clicking Play game you are given two options; Story and survival mode. In the main campaign the story is quite comical but rather unique; Mozart must fight the army of Jean-Pierce, who has travelled back in time to kill Mozart to prevent him from publishing music that helped spark the ideas of the French revolution, and this would in turn give Jean-Pierce total control of France!

Inside the game, the main fighting and unlock mechanics are very addictive and fun, however they are quite generic with a button mashing feel to them; spamming C and X while using the arrow keys to move will practically kill anyone around you. There’s just very little tactic to this and this ruins some aspect of the game for me. Another criticism I have is with the controls. They’re fine on themselves but you are unable to change them or do any key binding, so if someone dislikes the control layout they may have a hard time adjusting to them; some controls are tedious to use. To move down a level you must press down then hold x, and in this fast-paced game where if you don’t move you’re dead instantly; it isn’t worth using. The unlocks in the game are very useful as you can upgrade your max HP, speed, power, you can unlock a special ability and you can have a magnet to collect coins, potions and bird seed are also available, although everything in the game that can be unlocked is useful, I feel like the shop needs a little bit more added to it to make the game-play better and introduce new playing styles and tactics. New weapons would be a good unlock.

The progression in the story is challenging, with considerably more enemies to grind though on each level you may find yourself punching your fist through the monitor every-time you miss-click. On the later waves a miss-click or two will kill you, and this can get relatively annoying. However after a while of playing you will get used to the controls so killing masses of Frenchmen on rooftops will be no problem after 30-40 minutes of playing! You will have to kill more French people than you might imagine; the chances of you completing the campaign on the first run are very slim. Getting to the final round and completing it means you will have to try and take minimal damage, manage your money and concentrate quite well, because if you don’t have enough potions on the final wave you’re guaranteed to die. But hey, you have infinite live so dying is okay!

Your bird companion in this game can be helpful, however you have a lack of control over what he does; he will attack and possibly kill any enemy on the screen at random. This is great, however if you’re keeping one enemy alive to collect coins he can get annoying.

The survival mode of the game is exactly that; one life, a potentially infinite amount of gun wielding French soldiers from the future and a Mozart. It is fun for 20 minutes before it simply gets boring. If you have a short concentration spam or cannot focus on something repetitive for a long time then Survival is not the best game mode for you.

The last thing I’d like to talk about is the music. I think it’s incredible that they managed to get some of Mozart’s well known pieces into an 8 bit style without bodging it up, and it brings change and makes this game even more unique in a world where every other indie game has the same generic 8 bit techno style of music. The only problem I have with the music is that it’s quite repetitive. There’s a limited amount of songs and you find yourself repeating the playlist quite frequently, however this may be to no fault of the developers as this could have been a technical limitation, if it is, fair enough, if it isn’t and the company have enough funding for it, the addition to an extended playlist for the game would improve it greatly

Overall this game is very fun and addictive with a unique and funny storyline to it, and an equally unique style of music that matches the main character and just generally sounds pleasant. The controls can be a bit fiddly, the music gets to be repetitive and the game-play is somewhat generic, but put all this aside and it is a very fun indie game to play in your spare time that will give you a nice challenge.

The game gets a score of 7.5/10 from me!

-Rob.