Category Archives: Reviews
Shadowrun Mostly Returns
If you don’t know anything about the world of Shadowrun, it’s a prime example of the cyberpunk genre we all know and love, full of heartless megacorporations, hackers with glowing avatars, the word “runner” indicating someone working a spurious career path, and thousands upon thousands of square kilometers of crotch-scented slums. However, it’s got one major twist that transmogrifies it into something distinct from all its would-be twins: thanks to a mysterious “awakening” about fifty years before the setting’s present day, this particular universe houses elves and dwarves, orcs and ogres, demons and magic. These exist alongside the humdrum day-to-day of glaring neon and hand-to-mouth desperation. And here, recent Kickstarter success Shadowrun Returns is all about your deeply flawed character’s noir-flavored quest to solve the murder of an old friend — though in a world where everyone lives in the shadow of unreachable highrises, even your motives are shady.
Infested Planet: 20,000 kills, 20 minutes
On Tuesday afternoon, my elite squad of bug-hunters descended into a particularly overwhelmed mine shaft, squashed over 20,000 space-slugs, and secured it permanently against further infestation — and all in under 20 minutes.
This is Infested Planet from Rocket Bear Games, a highly polished spiritual sequel to their earlier free experimental game Attack of the Paper Zombies. Just like in Attack, Infested Planet is all about facing down an ever-evolving enemy that has no shortage of cannon fodder and always seems to have you surrounded. Just another day in the life of your regular space marine.
Not Such a Bad Legacy After All
Everyone’s been talking about Rogue Legacy, the new side-scrolling roguelike from Cellar Door Games, and there isn’t much for me to add except that, just like everyone else, I really, really like it too.
So that’s it. We’re done here. Unless you haven’t heard anything about Rogue Legacy, then feel free to read on and find out exactly what I’m also liking it about it.
One of my earliest attempts at writing here on Space-Biff! was on the superb Atom Zombie Smasher, which I argued was the “most frightening” thing I’d played that year thanks to the way it made its players complicit in the ruthless containment of a zombie outbreak by a remote authority with a surfeit of power and a shortage of conscience. Just thinking back to the leveling of entire blocks of healthy city to keep them from falling into the hands (and mouths, more critically) of the approaching horde gives me the chills.
So when I heard that Signal Ops, the new indie title from Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation, intended you wrap its players in the shadowy cloak of Big Brother himself, I had little choice but to refill my censor’s pen, charge the old police scanner, and prepare for all the history-rewriting, evidence-planting, and dissident-sacking I was sure it would provide.
The Other Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!
Time for a board game history lesson! Buckle up, because this one might get a little convoluted. I promise there are treats afterwards. Or a review of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! on iOS, but that’s a type of treat too.
Blood Dragon! The Eighties! High Five!
I covered Far Cry 3 at the tail-end of last year, though you could be forgiven for not remembering, tucked away as it was in that year’s leftovers article. There was a lot to say about how that game managed to house nigh-perfect open world gameplay and then mar it with vaguely racist plot-points that would have felt more at home in a boy’s imperialist adventure story from a hundred and fifty years ago. And talk everyone did, which is why I didn’t really bother engaging in the discussion except to affirm that, yeah, it kind of felt racist.
So I’ll also be brief with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, a sort of do-over that fixes its race relations by omitting them. Does that fix the game? Find out below.
Last Light’s Problem with Women
Meet Anna. She’s the first female character in the Metro series to have a name — other than Nikki the prostitute from the first game. Which means, if you couldn’t guess, today I’m writing about the sexist undertones in Metro: Last Light.
If you thought you’d never see the word “sexist” here on Space-Biff!, you’re not the only one. Since this is a site about the things I like, I don’t often talk much about the things I don’t like. Even my few negative reviews only exist because I really enjoy panning bad games. The thing is though, I really like both games in the Metro series. For the most part, they encourage thoughtful, even considerate, behavior. That’s a rarity in any genre of videogame, let alone in the first-person shooter genre, which one could argue makes its bucks by being the exact opposite of “thoughtful.” In fact, I’d go so far as to label Metro 2033 as one of the most moral games I’ve ever played — which is precisely why the sexism in Last Light bothers me so deeply.
Three iOS Space-Biffs
It might be the final frontier and all, but it’s also the first thing on every iOS developer’s mind. I have so many galaxy-blue icons littering my iPad’s app list that I’ve despaired the thought of reviewing them all, at least until I realized I could blob them into a mega-review and have done with it — so you’re in luck, because today we’re looking at three games that share the void as their setting, but otherwise couldn’t possibly be more different.
Engage. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Let’s Talk about Bioshock Infinite
My first thought upon finishing Bioshock Infinite was, “Well, that was quite the thing.” Then I went to bed and stewed on it for a while. After a few days of pondering, I think I’m finally ready to put down exactly what I liked — and what I didn’t like — about the experience. This stream of consciousness rambling isn’t a review; at least not precisely, though anyone bothering to read it will get a pretty comprehensive grasp of my opinion of the game. Naturally, there will be some light spoilers, about on par with the stuff the advertising has already been giving away for months.
Pat the Hat Smells a Rat
Originally, the plan was to write up a whole series on Omerta: City of Gangsters. Not a long one, maybe three or four entries, but a series nonetheless. But between Pat the Hat’s early misadventures and the few hours afterwards, I think it’s safe to say that Omerta well of surprises has run dry. Which means that the tale of what happened to Pat after his crew locked down Maine Avenue and started shooting for the bigtime — well, it’s also Pat’s last adventure.