I’ve been trying my best for quite some time now to work through the pile of un-played video games that I have sat on my shelf, aiming to decrease the size of the pile rather than add to it. Progress has been going quite well and I’ve also been working through the digital games that are sat on various devices that exist underneath my TV. Almost all of these games were bought on sale or from trading other games in at my local CeX. Rarely do I buy games at full price, but I will buy new if a sale is on.
To put this into context some more; during the summer of last year (2016) I finally got around to playing Resident Evil 4: Wii edition. This is a game that had been sat in the pile since the summer of 2012, and I think it had been there the longest. One reason it took so long to get round to it was I’d already played the PS2 version a couple of times, and had only really bought the Wii edition for the novelty of pointer controls and because I’d heard it played quite well with them. Which it did, mostly. Now that I think about it (and from having a quick glance up at the notorious un-played pile), the game that currently holds the record of being sat on the shelf the longest is Resident Evil: Deadly Silence which I think I bought sometime during 2016.
Enough about what Resident Evil games I have sat on my shelf, time to actually waffle about some recently played games…
The Swapper, WiiU
This was a real pleasure to play through, purchased when the developer Curve Digital had an absurdly good sale on their games (I also bought Stealth Inc. 2, Nova-111 and Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut) and they were all less than £1 each. The basic premise has you exploring a space station, undertaking a variety of puzzles that involve you ‘swapping’ with another version of yourself. You receive a cloning device that allows you to do these swaps, and can create up to four clones of yourself as the game progresses.
Puzzles are predominantly physics based and require you to use your clones to press buttons to open doors, climb up to higher ledges, endure shifts in gravity, and to navigate around certain coloured lights that affect where you can place a clone. The atmosphere is pretty bleak and there’s a real sense of loneliness as you explore and progress through the space station. As you’d expect for a game set in the depths of space the soundtrack is suitably minimalist, leaning heavily on long droning notes, atmospheric sounds and somber piano melodies. It’s fantastic and can be listened to in full here (make sure you’ve got your headphones on!)
The levels are made using clay and the handcrafted style looks amazing, creating a very dark and moody feeling. The bonus of playing on the WiiU is having the map on the gamepad screen, as well as the various documents that you pick up can be read here too. I liked how this added to the science-fiction genre that the game fits into, making the gamepad feel like an item that your character had found containing useful information to use.
The Swapper is a relatively short game, and the puzzles aren’t too obtuse although I did get a bit stumped during one section and ended up having to check a walkthrough on YouTube. I did write a bit further up that I rarely buy games at full price, and I was pretty bummed to miss out on getting a physical copy of this when Limited Run Games did a print a short while ago. I was aiming for a Vita copy, but unfortunately missed out. This is a game that I would love to have on my shelf, but it has evaded me for now.
I highly recommend this game, especially on the WiiU but I believe it’s also available on PS4/Vita/Steam.
Nova-111 and Stealth Inc.2: A Game of Clones, WiiU
These are another two games I bought and downloaded onto my WiiU during the previously mentioned Curve Digital sale. I didn’t finish either of these games. I was enjoying Nova-111 and it’s puzzle based levels involving movement between squares that affects everything else around you, so nothing else moves except for when you do. However the later levels incorporated fire, and I started to find the movement frustrating and a bit tedious. I don’t think I was that far from the end, but it irritated me to the point of quitting. Maybe I’ll go back to it.
Stealth Inc. 2…I can’t really remember why I quit this game. It started out well enough, but I suspect that the stealth-based puzzles got the better of me. Again, I may very well go back to this in the future and see if I can progress.
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut, WiiU
And now the last game I got from the Curve Digital sale. It’s also quite possibly my favourite of the four, slightly nudging The Swapper from the top spot. Caddicarus has described this game as being like playing a 2D Silent Hill game, and I completely agree. The atmosphere is oppressive and eerie, the combat is clunky and slow, resources are sparse and require you to manage them carefully, the soundtrack is dark, ominous and brooding, and the monsters are weird and unpleasant just like they are in Silent Hill.
The graphical style of the game really adds to the bleak and miserable atmosphere as you navigate the ‘Lone Survivor’ around solving puzzles and learning more about the story. Your character wears a mask on his face, which for a while I kept seeing as him instead having this massive maniacal grin on his face. Seeing him this way adds another layer of intrigue as to why he would be grinning like that in such a dire situation.
There are numerous characters that you can interact with that depending on who you go and see most, will affect the ending you receive. Your character has to eat and sleep, and this has somewhat of an impact on how the game progresses. As the game is quite short, multiple playthroughs should be easily achieved (again, a similarity to Silent Hill). The WiiU version has no specific gamepad functionality as you see the same thing on both the gamepad and the TV. Playing this using the off-TV feature with a pair of headphones is absolutely worth doing at least once, although I imagine this would be similar to playing on the PS Vita.
Limited Run Games also produced a batch of physical copies of this game for PS4 and Vita recently, and once again I missed out on securing a copy (again, I wanted a Vita copy). However I’m happy to have this sat on my WiiU and highly recommend getting a copy as it’s available on pretty much all current systems.