In Rays of the Light: Weird but Oddly Good (Review)

First off, let me say that I’m switching up my posts this week and doing my gaming post today and writing on Wednesday. The reason for this slight schedule change is that – if you didn’t already know – my next book Blindsighted will be released on Wednesday, so I’ll be doing a special post all about that.

Now that’s out of the way, let me get back to why we’re here; In Rays of the Light.

In Rays of the Light is what has been termed a “First-person meditative quest” – which I would say sounds about right. It was released relatively recently on 21st March 2021 for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and XBOX One.

You start the game in a room in front of a TV with static displayed on it and expected to figure something out – I’m still not sure what…

There is no tutorial that tells you what the controls are; you’re pretty much just left to figure it out for yourself. When leaving the starting room, you are left to explore an empty and overgrown building and its surrounding area. There are strange messages written on the walls throughout the building, which only serves to weird you out that little bit more.

Although at one point you pick up a piece of pipe and get yourself ready to bash something’s brains in, there is no combat. Nothing will jump out at you – although there are a couple of dramatic stings of music followed by flashes of shadows that I’ll admit made me jump.

You’re free to explore the areas, finding keys and other bits and pieces to help you solve puzzles and get to the end of the game. There are also several notes that you can pick up and read and, along with cutscenes that play out, tell you more of the story.

I don’t want to give too much away – mainly because I’m still not sure what happened – but the game concludes with some bizarre occurrences that might leave you scratching your head and asking, “What the hell was that all about?”

In Rays of the Light isn’t a huge game, and if you only play it through once, it probably won’t take you any longer than maybe 2 hours to complete it. If like me, you wanted to get the platinum, this requires a second playthrough, but that will only take around 30 minutes as you can pretty much just run through it, especially if you’re just played it through once.

We picked this game up for around £7, and honestly, it was worth the money – although I wouldn’t pay more for it. It’s a decent way to spend a couple of hours and, in the most part, is pretty relaxing – at least until the last third or so of the game.

I don’t think it will be a game that I go back to at any point as I’ve seen pretty much all it has to offer, and although I still had questions at the end of it, I feel like I had a rough idea of what the developers were trying to say. I’m going to give In Rays of the Light a ⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was alright for what it was, but there wasn’t much to it. I’d say if you want a little game that you can just run through (especially if you want to get an easy platinum), I’d say give it a go.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Review)

**Possible spoilers ahead**

Final Fantasy VII is an RPG that was originally released in 1997 for the PlayStation. It’s the seventh full instalment of the Final Fantasy series that dates back to 1987 when Final Fantasy was released on the NES.

This instalment follows main character Cloud Strife, a mercenary employed by an eco-terrorist group named Avalanche to stop a world-controlling corporation from using the planet’s life essence as a power source for the city Midgar as well as other towns and locations throughout the game.

When this game was first released back in 1997, I remember my brother buying it and us spending hours playing it. This was possibly the biggest game I’d ever played up until that point, and I was drawn into the story from the very beginning.

In a previous blog, I stated that along with other games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Skyrim, Final Fantasy VII is one of my most played and favourite games.

At the time of its release, FFVII was one of the most beautiful games I’d seen, and the cutscenes blew me away. I know, if you look at them now, they seem a little dated, but they still look pretty great.

Anyway, FFVII was recently remade into an even more epic and beautiful game.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (what an original title for a remake, eh?) was released back in 2020 and was a game that I couldn’t wait to play. However, I only recently bought a copy of it and got to play it for one reason or another.

During its pre and post-release, I did my best to avoid anything about it (other than the demo). I’d heard things like “it wasn’t the full game” or “the story had changed”, and I didn’t want anything to ruin my own experience of a game that I love being remade.

So a few weeks ago, I finally got a copy and started to play it. I’d previously played the demo, so I knew how the combat worked and what the first 30-40 minutes of gameplay would be like.

During this demo, I couldn’t help but compare it to the beginning of the original, and I was impressed with just how well it had been done. Yes, it changed certain aspects – like the combat mechanics going from random turn-based encounters to real-time – but I found these just brought the game into this new age. It did away with some of the original’s clunkiness and made it feel more streamlined and clean, and I was there for that.

The further you get into the game, you start to see other changes to the story; for example, side characters such as Biggs, Wedge and Jessie all get a more significant role, and you get to see more of the story in relation to these characters. I found this a great addition as it just added that little bit extra to the story.

The other thing that the remake has that the original didn’t is quests.

At certain parts of the game, you have a little bit more of a free-roam ability (in the original, when you were in Midgar, it was pretty linear.). This too, added that little bit more to the story, allowing you to find out more about certain characters and really feeling the plight of the citizens of Midgar’s slums.

If you were used to the original turn-based random encounters, the new combat system takes a little bit of getting used to. It all happens in real-time (aside from the pauses when you’re selecting an ability or spell), and this seems to make the battles feel a little faster and less clunky – there’s that word again… For me, the removal of the random encounters was a good thing. Back in the day, I would get really annoyed when – having just come out of a battle – you get thrust into a fight without time to heal up or sort your gear out. Over time, this system just wound me up and marred what otherwise would have been a perfect playing experience.

As far as main characters go, you’ve got the standard Cloud, Barret, Aerith and Tifa, but the thing that confuses me is when you get to the part of the game where you meet Red XIII, you can’t control him. Of course, he’s with you in battle, but as an uncontrollable AI character. I’m not sure why they made him this way, I for one, I was looking forward to controlling him as he was one of my favourite characters from the original. I just hope that when it comes to the other characters you meet along the way – Yuffie, Vincent, Cait Sith and Cid – that you get to add them to your team and play as them. I’ll be disappointed if not.

The magic system is very much the same. You pick up and equip materia to your weapons and accessories so you can use them in battle. One of the differences with the summons is that you only have the chance to use them in bigger battles and only when a bar that appears on screen has been filled. The big difference comes with the summons. In the original, the summons were a spell that was cast and did a single move doing a lot of damage. In the remake, though, the summoned entity joins you in the fight, and as well as doing automatic smaller attacks, you have the chance to perform extra attacks using the action via the ATB menu. Once the bar on screen has ticked down, the summon will leave the battle, but not before doing their main move for ample damage. I feel like this system does work, although, like other changes to the original, it takes a bit of getting used to.

I said at the start that it’s not the whole game, and that’s true. You play the game, up until the point where – on the original – you’d be asked to change discs, which kind of makes sense. Even though it’s not the full game, you still have hours and hours of gameplay, plus the ability to replay chapters should you want to.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake. It does build on what was already an incredible game and provides you with more background to the characters and the ability to walk around and explore different areas. I’m interested to see what happens with part 2, whether they allow you to explore the map as in the original or whether it will be a bit more closed off. Either way, I look forward to how it’s done, especially when it introduces some of the higher level summons.

I have no option but to give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It’s just brilliant, and despite only being a part of the game, it’s well worth it, and I honestly can’t wait for the next instalment. I highly recommend this game, whether you’re a fan of the original or not.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Review)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was released back in 2013 and takes place in a fantasy world filled with mythical creatures such as giants, orcs and trolls.

Brothers was a game that I came across years ago on the XBox. I played it a little back then but for some reason I put it down and never played it again…until now.

We played A Way Out (see my review of this here) which left us wondering what else the developers made and this brought us back to Brothers. It was pretty cheap at the time so we decided to give it a go, but unfortunately it again fell by the wayside. We were really looking for something co-op in the same vein as A Way Out but despite looking two-player, Brothers isn’t. We put it down and didn’t think of it again for some time.

We recently rediscovered it though through PSNow and finally got around to playing it.

In Brothers you take control of two characters, each having their own analogue stick (we played it on the PS4) to move and L2 and R2 buttons for actions. This at times can be pretty clunky as the characters sometimes seem to have a mind of their own and keeping track of both of them can be hard and very frustrating. Sometimes it’s easier to move each brother one at a time but due to some of the puzzles you occasionally have to move them in tandem.

The story follows these two brothers on a quest to find something to help their sick father who is the only parent left to look after them since their mother drowned (all very happy stuff.) Their quest takes them through several different locations and they meet a number of characters.

There are no combat controls in this game, your main aim is either to run away or trick the enemy into running into something and therefore hurting themselves.

It’s a nice game, the graphics are pretty decent and the story is alright, but the controls just let it down so much in this version. This could have very easily been a two-player game with each player controlling a brother, but for one player to control both can be very annoying at times. The only way I can see two players bein able to play this is to share the controller, but this would probably also be difficult as the space you would have – depending on the size of your hands – would be minimum.

After playing A Way Out, Brothers was a bit of a let down, but it’s only fair I say that this game came out years before A Way Out and they are completely different games so it is a little unfair to compare them. I’m just sad that this game could have been more fun if it had been a true co-op game. I believe that the Switch port does allow for two-players, but without playing it I can’t attest to how well it plays.

For us, the PS4 version was okay, but it just didn’t give us the type of game that we were expecting and overall wasn’t great. The graphics were excellent, though, and it is beautiful to look at. The story was fair, perhaps having proper dialogue might have helped it along some. Despite this, there are still some genuinely emotional times throughout your quest. Unfortunately, the poor controls detract from the good points and lower the enjoyment quite a lot. I’d give this game ⭐️⭐️ out of 5. It could have been so much more.

The Joy of the NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System or NES was released back in the ’80s and was the first console that I ever owned – we did have a Commodore 64 as well, but I have no idea when that was bought.

My NES was given to me for Christmas. I remember the day when both me and brother unwrapped our console (apparently we weren’t very good at sharing) although I don’t know how old I was – I’m going to go with I was either 2 or 3…maybe…who knows.

We got the bundle that had Mario Bros., and I spent the remainder of the day playing that – even though at that age I really couldn’t play it well to save my life…who am I kidding? I still can’t.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I loved that console. I would spend hours playing Mario and eventually other games.

Despite having our own consoles, my brother and I would regularly play together. If we played Mario, I would be relegated to playing as Luigi, which probably made me like him more than I do Mario now. I was happy to be the taller green dude – a cosplay that I might actually be able to pull off.

We eventually had quite the library of games, and at times – like now – it was difficult for me to choose what to play. A couple of my favourite games were based on some toys that I collected at the time; Micro Machines and Monster in my Pocket.

As with Mario, I spent hours playing these games with both my brother and my dad, and as with Mario, I wasn’t very good at them.

Duck Hunt was another of my favourite games that we had – we only bought this, later on, my mum didn’t like the idea of it having a gun controller. But I loved Duck Hunt, and I was actually good at it! I spent ages shooting ducks and shouting at the dog for laughing at me when I missed – damn you!

The NES was a permanent fixture in our house for many years, it would be plugged into the old CRT TV in the lounge, and I would play while my parents watched.

I have no idea when we got rid of our NES’ – they probably ended up going to a car boot and being sold to some lucky person.

When I decided I was going to collect retro consoles, the NES was one of the first ones I wanted to get. I’d have to buy all the games for it again, but I had to get it when I found a cheap one on eBay.

My rebought NES now sits with all my other retro consoles in the game room – well, it will when they’re unpacked from their boxes when we’ve moved (I can’t wait for that.)

It will take me a while to rebuild my game collection, mainly because people are charging a fortune for some of them.

Not long after I bought my NES, the Mini NES was released, so I figured why not?

The Mini NES was a mini version – no kidding – of the NES that comes with 30 preinstalled games, some of which I’d never played and would cost a lot if I were to try to buy physical copies for the original NES.

Along with the Mini SNES and Commodore 64, the NES sits happily on my shelves as a reminder of some truly excellent games.

All in all, the NES was a brilliant introduction to the world of consoles, and it will also stick in my mind for that reason.

What are your memories of the NES? What games did you enjoy playing on this system?

A Way Out: A Prison Break for Two (Review)

A Way Out is an action-adventure game that was released in 2018 for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It has no single-player mode and is only playable using either local or online co-op, both of which employ a split-screen dynamic.

The game follows main characters Leo and Vincent as they attempt to escape from prison and evade the authorities. In order to complete the game, players are required to co-operate with each other. This takes the form of creating distractions so the other player can perform an action, or assisting each other reaching certain parts of a level. The roles will change so it’s not always one creating distractions for the other. You’re able to watch what the other is doing via the split-screen and sometimes the action will change to a cut scene for one of the characters.

We first discovered this game back in 2018 when we borrowed it from a family member. We took our PS4 to a holiday cottage (when you were allowed to go to such places) and this game came along with us. The lure of a true two-player co-op game was what made us want to play A Way Out. There aren’t many of these types of games out there, especially ones that are so good.

When you start the game each player chooses the character they wish to play as – either Vincent or Leo. At the character select screen it shows who each character is, why they were in prison etc. It doesn’t necessarily matter which character you choose, it only changes the perspective of how the game play outs but.

As soon as we started the game we were drawn into it. It starts with Vincent arriving at the prison where Leo is already an inmate and shows how they meet and how their plan to escape the prison evolves. In some parts of the game, one character has to distract other NPCs so that the other can perform an action. For example, early on in the game the player playing as Vincent needs to distract a nurse so that the player as Leo can steal a chisel from a workman to aid in their escape. It sounds simple, but you’ve got to get the timing right between you so that Leo doesn’t get caught and these type of puzzles get steadily harder as the game goes on.

The game isn’t just escaping from the prison, once you escape you have to evade the police while doing other tasks as the story unfolds, so there is a lot more to the game that just a prison break.

Once we started playing A Way Out, we couldn’t stop. In total it probably took us 2 or 3 days to complete the game but we played for long stretches at a time, the game just wants you to keep playing. The story is in depth and engrossing and culminates in an end that we didn’t see coming.

If you’re in it for the platinum, this game doesn’t disappoint. There are trophies that are story-related and there are ones that involve you performing actions that you don’t necessarily have to in order to complete the game. For example, you have to play baseball in a trailer park and hit a home run (this is harder than it sounds.)

We were impressed by the game mechanics, though they were simple and easy to get used to that didn’t stop us enjoying the game, in fact it probably added to the enjoyment as we didn’t have to spend time going through a tutorial and figuring out the controls. The story is engrossing and you soon become attached to the characters and their plans to evade capture. The graphics are great, and the few times when you see non-building scenery it looks incredible. I can’t stress enough how much we loved this game, it was the perfect game to play together while we were away and we straight away started to look for other games that are similar, but unfortunately so far there isn’t a great deal out there. This gets a well-deserved ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from us.

Trophies: Yay or Nay?

To platinum, or not to platinum. That is the question – well, it’s not really it’s just a nice intro to a blog about trophy hunting. For ease of typing I’m going to generalise and call them all trophies. Don’t come at me saying the Xbox doesn’t have trophies, because we all know they’re the same thing.

Trophies have been around for a while now, whether you play Playstation, Xbox, Steam or even mobile games. You can choose to ignore them, collect them through general play and then forget about them, or specifically spend your time hunting for them.

I asked my followers on Twitter what their thoughts on trophies were;

Through my time gaming since they’ve been about, I’ve done pretty much all of them. Some games I play through just to get through them, others I will spend a bit more time going through and doing the extra quests or missions, and some I play to death and try to get the elusive ultra rare trophies.

For me, there’s a time and a place for trophy hunting. There are some games I just wanted to finish, ones I’m not really inclined to play any further past the last mission. But then there are some where having trophies adds that little bit of extra playability.

I don’t generally go into a game looking at what trophies it has, or how easy/difficult they may be. Some games I would play again regardless, so having the extra trophies to get is a great way to enjoy more of the game that you may not generally have seen the first time round.

I have some platinum trophies that were easy – like the ones from the Tell Tale games – but I also have some that were harder to get and required a slog – Skyrim, Death Stranding and 2064: Read Only Memories.

Of course, some games are easier to get all the trophies are than others. I’ve seen people looked down on because the only platinum or 100% games they had were the ones that were fairly easy to get through a single playthrough. This makes no sense to me. What people choose to get or not get is completely up to them, and shaming them saying that their achievements are just easy is a bit pointless and just seems like you’re being a bit of a dickhead.

Having said this though, for a long time I would compare my Gamerscore/trophy count with other people and try to beat them. It became a bit of an obsession of mine, constantly playing the same games over and over again until I got the rarer trophies, just so that I could be higher than people I’d never even met. Eventually I realised that this was a bit silly, and slowly started to not worry about it so much. Trophies are a nice thing to get, but it shouldn’t be the reason why I play games. I was there to enjoy myself and being that competitive made it far less enjoyable. But as I said above, I still like to get some rare trophies, but if I’m not having fun then what’s the point?

Myself and Alex do compete a little bit, but we also help each other to get some trophies. Some games I’m better at than her and some she’s better at than me – damn you Spyro! It’s a fun thing for us to do together in games that ordinarily may only be single player.

I don’t know if it says something about the quality of today’s games, if the only reason you go back and play them is to get trophies. I go back to many old games that I played growing up before trophies in games were even a thing. They don’t lose anything because they lack this element but I can understand why some people don’t like to go back and play these types of games, after all what are they getting out of it?

I see this kind of thought process going on with consoles like the Nintendo Switch. You can play through a game but you don’t have anything to show for it so it’s like you didn’t play it…right? I mean, what’s the point in playing something if you can say, “Hey, look at these trophies I got while playing this game. I told you I played it, here’s the proof.” I find this mentality odd. I play games for me. Not so I can show people I’ve never met what games I’ve been playing. Yes, I talk about what I’m playing, but in the end, I’m playing it because I enjoy it. If the game happens to have a trophy that shows I completed a certain bit in a certain way then that’s just something for me.

How do you view trophies? Do you spend your time getting them or just get what you get and not bother with the others? I’d find it interesting to see what other people do.

A Link to the Past

This morning I started playing the Final Fantasy VII remake, and it got me thinking about how much time I put into the original when it first came out. I also started to think about other games that I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing, games like Skyrim or Sim City. But the game that I think I’ve played the most is probably my favourite game; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

I can’t remember when I first played it, but I was only young when it was released back in 1991, and we probably bought it not long after.

The SNES was one of the first consoles that we had after the original NES, and I spent hours playing the likes of Super Mario and Street Fighter II. Although I wasn’t very good at either, I still put the time into learning how to play.

When A Link to the Past came around, I’d never played a game like it before. It was one of the first open-world games that I played, and I was hooked straight away.

I can’t pinpoint exactly why I got so into it. I just remember loving the graphics, the combat and -later in the game – teleporting to a different world, I also loved the fact that it game with a game map – a map that I blue-tacked to my wall and that hung there for years. I would spend hours in Hyrule slashing my way through enemies and bosses. It took me quite some time to finally finish it, and I didn’t give up until I did. But that wasn’t the end of it.

With ALTTP, there aren’t the same story choices as you get in games these days. It was pretty linear despite being open world, and if you finished it once – other than going back and getting the upgraded gear – there really wasn’t anything else to do. But after I finish and put it down, moving on to something else, I still wanted to go back and replay it.

We got rid of the SNES – for some reason, I can’t fathom – many years ago. And when I bought another one when I started to gather my collection of retro consoles, ALTTP was one of the first games that I had to get, and when I played it, I felt the same joy that I did when I was younger – although this time it took me a fraction of the time to finish it.

I said at the start, this is the game I’ve probably put the most time into, and all that time culminates into probably finished the game around 25-30 times, and yet I’m still not bored of it.

When A Link Between Worlds came out on the 3DS, and I saw that it incorporated ALTTP into a new game, I couldn’t help but buy it. This too, I’ve finished a few times, although not as many as ALTTP.

When I bought the mini SNES when it came out, ALTTP was the first game I played. I honestly can’t play this game enough.

A Link to the Past will always have a place in my heart and mind. When I’m feeling less than great, it’s a game that I can always come back to. I don’t have to think about it all that much, but it gives my mind something to focus on when I can’t concentrate on anything else.

Although I’ve played the other Legend of Zelda games, none have stuck with me as much as ALTTP and – as much as I’ve enjoyed playing them – I don’t think any of them will.

Do you have a game like this? A game that you can keep going back to over and over? One that holds a special place in your heart for whatever reason? Let me know.

No One is Going to Steal My Sweetroll (Recipe)

Skyrim. Is there any place where I have spent more time slaying dragons, raiding towns and trying to find a woman named Lydia?

It’s a huge game with a lot going for it even a decade after its release. in this blog I’ll be showing you how to make one of the most well-known deserts in the land; a sweetroll. You will no longer have to cry because someone stole yours, because now you can make your very own.

This is what they look like in-game;

Appetising eh? Scroll to the bottom to see how ours turned out. If you don’t want the spoiler then just keep on reading.

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 50g raspberry jam
  • 2tbsp Chambord liqueur (optional)

For the Glace icing:

  • 125g icing sugar
  • 15ml milk of your choice
  • Dash of vanilla extract (optional)

Method:

  • STEP 1 – Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan. Grease your bundt tin until fully coated and set aside. Combine the butter and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat until creamed.

*Note*If you’re using the Chambord; add this to the mixture now. If you don’t want to use the liqueur then you can add the equivalent amount of extract of your choice in it’s place.

  • STEP 2 – Crack the eggs into a smaller mixing bowl or jug and beat until combined. Beat a third of the eggs into the cake mixture until combined. Then add around a third of the flour; folding it into the mixture rather than beating. This will retain the cake’s ability to rise so mix carefully! Continue alternating between eggs and flour until all have been combined.
  • STEP 3 – Place have of the mixture into the bundt tin and smooth it out. Once this is done, place the jam into a bowl and mix it until there are no big lumps of jam remaining. You don’t have to do this, but it does make it easier for the next step.
  • STEP 4 – Dot the jam around the bundt tin, almost so that it forms a ring on top of the smoothed mixture. Once all the jam has been added you can go ahead and pour the remaining mixture into the bundt tin on top.
  • STEP 5 – Smooth the mixture out again and then place in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted close to the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool before turning out of the tin.
  • STEP 6 – While waiting, enjoy a brew.
  • STEP 7 – Once the cake is freed from the tin you can ice it; combine the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract (if using) into a bowl and mix until completely smooth. If your mixture isn’t runny then add a splash more milk; if it’s too runny and very thin then add some more icing sugar.
  • STEP 8 – Once you’ve made your icing then go ahead and spoon it over the top of your cake, adding “drips” in various places to recreate the Skyrim Sweet Roll look. Once you’ve done this leave the icing to set so that it doesn’t go everywhere when you cut into it.
  • STEP 9 – Enjoy!

So that’s how to make your very own sweetroll. Ours didn’t last very long as it tasted amazing. I hope yours turn out just as good. If you do have a go, let me know how it turned out and maybe send me some pictures.

We did this when my brain wasn’t letting me write and the process of baking did calm my chattering mind. Not enough to allow me to write, but it did help. I hope it helps you too.

Erica – Live Action Gameplaying (Review)

Erica is an FMV (Full Motion Video) interactive game release on the PS4 in August 2019.

The game follows titular character, Erica, as she battles nightmares from her childhood and tries to unravel the truth about her families mysterious occult past as she’s taken to a strange hospital that her father founded. You control Erica via multiple-choice dialogue options and interactive elements in the scenes.

Erica is an interesting game and combines the choice in the story of Telltale-like games with full video and live cast. It’s a good idea in theory and if you just play it through it’s a decent enough game.

Unfortunately, though, there several issues that I feel could have been worked on a little more.

First off, continuity. There are so many continuity errors in this game; it’s unbelievable. Some can be forgiven, but the sheer number of them just can’t be. They range from blood appearing, disappearing and reappearing between scenes, to clothes changing without any time for them too.

Second, the acting. Now I’m all for a bad movie with poor acting. But some of the acting in Erica is just so bad it’s not even funny. I don’t know whether it’s just how the scenes are put together with the choices but a lot of the time they only don’t match up properly. The actors may well be better in other things, but there’s just something wrong in this game.

The game can either be controlled via the touchpad on the Dualshock controller or with an app that can be downloaded to your phone. This again is a good idea in theory. I found that when using the controller the touchpad was a little too sensitive – there’s no way to adjust this – so trying to hit the mark on screen when needed, at times, is quite tricky. The controls work a little better on the app, and it gives you a greater range for swiping. The problem with using the app is that it doesn’t half drain your phone battery so unless you can play while having it plugged in, you’re a little bit limited with how long you can play for.

If you’re trying to go for the platinum trophy on this game, be prepared to play the game at least 5 times – and that’s if you follow a guide. If you’re just winging it – like I did on my first playthrough – you may have to do more than that. It’s a slog and a big one at that. Although if you’re committed, you can probably get it in a day.

All in all, Erica is a reasonably enjoyable game despite its faults. But unfortunately, once you notice things like the continuity issues does mar your playing experience. It could have been so much better, but for what it is, it’s not bad. I hope there are more games like this to come – as long as they’re produced a little better. For me, the game deserves a high rating for what it’s trying to achieve, but it does fall a bit flat, so I just can’t bring myself to give it higher than ⭐⭐⭐.

Concrete Genie – It’s Not Vandalism it’s Art! (Review)

Concrete Genie is an action-adventure game released for the PlayStation 4 in October 2019.

In Concrete Genie the player controls a young artist named Ash and makes excellent use of PS4 Dualshock’s motion controls to control his paintbrush and create landscapes in the town of Denska to remove the “darkness” and restore it to it’s previous beauty. These graffiti landscapes turn into living portraits that you and your genie can interact with. As well as free roam over what you paint, you can also paint creatures known in the game as genies and how you paint them affects their abilities, for example, a red genie will make use of fire, blue will use wind and yellow will use electricity. As well as free roam, there is a set of core puzzles in the game that you need to solve using your graffiti with assistance from your genies to progress through the game.

Over the course of the game you gain access to more areas of Denska. Throughout your progress you will need to avoid bullies who will move through the town destroying graffiti and if they catch Ash they will bully him – by throwing stones and pushing him around, so you need to avoid them the best you can.

Concrete Genie was a game that had been on my radar since it came out. I’d heard good things about it but for some reason I never picked it up. So, when it popped up as one of Februarys PSPlus games I was right in there.

Most of the game play is pretty easy, the most challenging part was avoiding the bullies and making sure they were far enough away for you to get around them.

The motion controls for painting work really well, but it does take a bit of time to get used to how it works. Once you do though, nothing can stop your graffiting.

There’s no combat to speak of for most of the game. It’s only at the end when things truly kick off and you need to use your new brush to fight enemies, I won’t go too much into it as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

It’s a relaxing game and isn’t too difficult but the story and gameplay is enough to keep you playing. But, if you need an extra incentive, there are quite a few trophies and a lot of them pop as you play with some extras for doing some other little things. But as far as the platinum trophy goes, this is on the very easy side, so there’s that.

Concrete Genie is a great little game, and it makes for a relaxing evening of bright colours and soothing music. There could be a bit more to it though, it does feel a tad short, but I’m not going to hold that against it. I’d give it a high ⭐⭐⭐⭐ , and I would say if you like the look of it you should definitely give it a go.