My love of the under-sea is well-documented on this website (and some other ones). I can’t help it, I’m at Atlantean at heart. I’d live under water if I could. I have lived under water for most of my life, for an extremely generous and disappointing interpretation of the idea. Every game that opens up by telling me most of the action will take place sub-H2O has an automatic head start; I’m a simple man to please.
And if a game tells me it intends to fill that setting with tactical turn-based combat, persistent customizable soldiers, and randomly-generated worlds full of uncertainty and mystery and danger? If other sites bill it as ‘XCOM meets FTL, but under water’? It would be hard to laser-target a design document more directly to my interests.
HOF Studios is trying just this with Depth of Extinction. Let’s see if they manage.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium.)
(Game source: Publisher review key.)
After the break: You’ll know if Depth of Extinction is as good as I hope it’ll be because this will be the last review I’ll ever write.
Hey readers! Greeting from scenic Washington DC., home of bad politics and good musea. Fun bit of trivia: I entered the United States through Boston at the start of this year, and my two most major expeditions took me to Las Vegas and Washington DC. This means I’ve exclusively visited the sites of three consecutive first-person Fallout games… if you ignore my trip to upstate New York. Listen, don’t overthink things.
A full review is in the cards for next week, but this week I wanted to use this space to an interesting-looking Kickstarter project: Lore Finder, by Kitsune Games, previously known for MidBoss and Ultra Hat Dimension. I normally shy away from highlighting Kickstarter projects, but this one has three big pluses: I know about Kitsune Games and like their body of work (I intend to review MidBoss one of these days, one of those ‘better late than never’ things), Lore Finder has a cool elevator pitch and a gripping art style to boot, and most importantly of all, the Lore Finder Kickstarter page has a publicly-available demo, meaning I can actually tell you something about the game as it exists instead of just parroting marketing material.
So if you’re interested in learning what made Lore Finder tick for me…
Radical Fish Games‘ CrossCode first hit Steam Early Access in June 2015. I downloaded and played its demo version somewhere around that time (late 2015/early 2016, I think) and found it to be an interesting take on real-time top-down action RPGs, with a charming RPG Maker art style and a narrative setup that promised some interesting reading. It was also in very early access at the time, so I decided to keep the demo installed, and occasionally check up on its progress.
Then I moved house and changed computers, and immediately forgot its name. Yeah, I know, that’s probably the most me way things could go. I’d forgotten to ‘follow’ it on Steam, too, and since demos don’t leave a trace in your own games list… not that that would matter, unless I was willing to manually scroll through a thousand entries to find the one game I wanted. All hope seemed lost.
Then Rock Paper Shotgun came to the rescue — a chance tweet on my timeline reignited a trove of lost memories. And here we are!
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium. Mechanical, medium-high.)
(Game source: Patreon funds.)
After the break: Has CrossCode been worth this continent-spanning, serendipity-filled wait? The answer is…