Gaming reviews: Shadowrun Returns; Eternal Descent: Heavy Metal Heroes; Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Friday 02 August 2013
Originally created as a hi-tech neo-noir alternative to Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun makes for perfect gaming fodder; a history of complicated publishing rights being the main culprit for why videogame releases have been so few. Shadowrun Returns is Jordan Weisman's attempt to remedy that, the table-top version's co-founder having successfully crowd-funded the venture via Kickstarter.
As you'd expect, this Shadowrun sticks closely to its source material, the isometric turn-based RPG – that owes much to last year's XCOM – akin to a simulation of the game's rulebook. Such mechanical inner workings are in keeping with the Blade Runner-esque environments seen as players embark upon maiden quest 'Dead Man's Switch' – the first in a planned series of episodic content. Nods to the early 1990s Super Nintendo classic – a cyborg waking up on a slab for one – will please fans, but the lack of any mid-mission game saving and a relatively mundane plot means that, despite early promise, there remains work to be done.
Eternal Descent: Heavy Metal Heroes
Created by comic artist and guitarist Llexi Leon, Eternal Descent started life as a virtual rock band. Their multimedia expansion now reaches mobile gaming with Heavy Metal Heroes, an endless brawler where your 'axe' can vanquish demons as you run a literal highway to hell. A cast of heavy rock legends turn up to assist, with the likes of Joe Satriani shredding trademark solos. Sluggish controls do hinder, but this is still a slick and enjoyable distraction.
Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
Stealth and platform genres clash in Stealth Inc., as players guide a succession of goggle-clad clones through increasingly booby trapped stages. Patience, planning and split-second timing are all key to progression, in a game as demanding on the mind as the reflexes. You will die (often) but the generous checkpoint system should reduce frustration; while the sense of triumph from solving a particularly irksome level is ample reward for your painstaking endeavour.
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