Monday, November 27, 2017

ELEX (Xbox One) Review

Did you play Risen or either of its sequels?  Did you enjoy them?  If yes, then you will likely enjoy ELEX.

Oh, you'd like some more info?  Fair enough, as I have more to say, but be warned that there are many comparisons between the two.  The team responsible for the Risen games has fully entered the current generation of games with their new offering, ELEX.  Instead of being a fantasy world, this one is set in a post apocalyptic fantasy world.  That probably comes across as sarcastic, but I admit I really like the idea of the game and the world it builds.

ELEX's world is pretty big, too.  There are several different environments, which all make sense in the context of the game.  There are plenty of places to visit, items to loot, and enemies to fight.  Several factions all fight for dominance, and you can join them, or work against them.  There are lots of quests to complete, too.  For better or worse, these will send you all over the map.  While this is to be expected of later quests, there are too many of these early on.  When you are just starting out, and hit the first town, you'd like quests that are close by, with weaker enemies, so you can build up your level and inventory.  Too bad the developers don't agree with that player-friendly philosophy.

Some early quests can be completed in the town, but most involve running to other places.  I'd be fine with that but again, theses are past enemies that you have no business fighting.  You will just die really quickly.  You can get eventually get a partner to run around with you that makes fighting a little easier.  However, you still have to go past monsters much too strong for you before you can complete the companion quests.  The only real solution is to run away from enemies and try to avoid them.  Showing a suggested level for quests might be a good start, but I'd really just prefer the enemies around the town were beatable at reasonable levels.  It shouldn't be too much to ask to have a balanced game.

Now we get to the combat.  Like Risen, it is pretty stiff.  Enemies can do a lot of damage to you very quickly.  You have an attack, block, roll, and jump.  Attacks are fairly self-explanatory, and do well enough on their own.  If you connect with enough hits together, you will build up a meter that allows you to execute a special move.  This would be good, except for the bad aspect of combat: stamina.

Attacking takes stamina.  Dodge rolling takes stamina.  Blocking stifles your stamina regeneration.  Attacking enough times to fill the special rarely leaves you with enough stamina to then actually use the move.  Dodging and enemy's attack tends to leave you too far or without enough stamina to counter.  Blocking doesn't seem to reduce the damage much (maybe a shield would help, but I can't really afford that and skill training).  Worst of all, stamina isn't tied to a stat, so the only way to increase it is by training in a particular skill, which will take hours to be able to get.  I'm not a fan of these kind of limiting factors in fighting, as the fun level just crashes.

With no HUD, you know it's a glamshot.
On the other hand, ranged combat felt pretty good.  The damage seems good, and it gives you an early advantage in encounters.  The only drawback is having to find or buy a lot of ammo.  Needless to say, money isn't always that easy to come by, especially in the early game.  It gets better as you go (especially with some key skills), but doesn't help the first 10 or so hours, where the difficulty is killer.  Switching from melee to ranged worked okay at best, but I think that's because my controller's d-pad isn't what it used to be.

Probably the best aspect of the game is the jet pack.  This allows you to explore, take shortcuts, or sometimes avoid enemies.  It takes a bit to get used to how it works, but after a few minutes of practice I was long jumping like a pro.  The added vertical dimension to exploration really opens the world up.  The companions seem to have them too, so you won't leave them in the dust when you use it.  If it wasn't for the jet pack, I'm not sure I could have survived the first few hours of the game, since it is so dangerous.

When you level up, you gain 10 stat points and a skill point.  The stat points you can allocate yourself, while you must pay a trainer to use the skill point.  The skill trees are all clearly laid out, as is the requirements for that level of skill.  Trainers are marked on your map as well.  Except for the rising costs of training, I think the skill and stat system works pretty well.  I'm betting you can still mess up your character though.

At many points through your adventure, you will have to make choices.  These can affect your "coldness", which is how human you act.  Many of your responses affect this, even ones you wouldn't think.  If the coldness matters, I'd really like to know which responses affect it, since most feel random.  Depending on your answers in quests, there are different outcomes.  Standard, yes, but appreciated.  Of course there are also romance options in the game.  The dialogue in the game is pretty good, save for my problem with the coldness rating.

I remember the difficulty curve in Risen, so I put ELEX on easy at the start.  It was still very rough, and I shudder to think how bad things can get on the hardest setting.  You take a lot of damage from enemy hits, and can very quickly get out of your league when just moving around the map.  Since enemies don't display levels, your only indication of difficulty is the skull icon next to an enemy's health.  That means they are too strong for you.  If it's not there, they still might be.  Point is, the game is way too hard and unforgiving on even the easiest setting, since there is no effective balance.  That really kills my enjoyment.

ELEX has some very unique things about it, but is also massively bogged down by abysmal game balance.  It's very similar to the Risen series, just with balance that is somehow even worse.  I really wanted to like the game far more than I did.

The Good:
The setting, world, and story are pretty good.

The Bad:
Lack of quest and enemy levels, and did I mention the balance?  I think I did, but they game just doesn't want you to have fun playing it.

The SaHD:
The money is called Elex shards, Elex, and shards.  It's pretty confusing for the first few hours.

(Review code for Elex was provided by the publisher, THQ Nordic)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tokyo Tattoo Girls (PS Vita) Review

While it might not seem like it at times, I am a bit selective of what games I review.  There have been some titles that I've pre-screened and decided against.  When deciding if I wanted to ask for Tokyo Tattoo Girls, I couldn't find any gameplay footage.  Even the official site had two vague screenshots.  I decided to jump in anyway, if only to satisfy my curiosity.

When you first start a new game, you get the backstory, pick a girl, and go right into the thick of it.  Well, you can view the tutorial before you start, and I'd recommend it.  At this point I quickly discovered why there wasn't any gameplay videos.  Most of the time, you are just staring at the map of the 23 wards.  Every few seconds, a day passes in game, and you will recruit more punks and clanswomen from every ward that you have started to invade.

There is stuff you can do, but a lot of the game happens automatically.  Each turn/day you earn some money, which you either use for a skill, or to create or upgrade a tattoo.  Most tattoos will increase your charisma or threat.  Higher charisma will recruit more punks per turn, and threat does the same for clanswomen.  These tattoos are also more effective in certain zones.  It does say on the zone what types it is, but there's no way I'm going to keep which zone is what type straight when there are so many of them.  I just went with "raise both stats and it goes faster".  It sounds silly, but it works.

Money can also be used to pay for temporary effects, like recruiting more people, or restoring your honor (life bar).  There is a second page of skills, which I didn't even know about until I had gone through the game three times.  Restoring your honor is useful, since running out is game over, but most of the other ones aren't that great.  There is one that encourages the girl to invade a new zone.  This one is a bit strange, since they pretty much start invading much faster than I would like them to.  I did use the skills early on, but eventually just do them for the associated trophies.

As your girl barrels through the zones, invading a lot of them at the same time, sometimes they will turn red.  When they do, the alert level is high.  You can use a skill to reduce this, but not for long.  Sirens will randomly appear on these zones, which denotes a clan war...I think.  If you click on it, you lose some honor and it goes away.  Sometimes a little graphic appears with character pictures moving toward each other.  I won most of these, and you don't lose honor if you win.  I don't know why some have the graphic and others don't.  I'm pretty sure it's just random, as most times I had many more people in the zone, but still lost the turf war.

When you recruit every person from a ward, you will then find the boss.  After some dialogue, you get to make a choice.  There are three results: okay, good, and super.  "Good" and "super" will restore some honor, while "okay" does not.  Regardless, you will win the fight (that they don't really show) and take over the ward.  If you answered the "super" answer, you will get a special CG picture of the ward boss, which can be seen again in the extras menu.  Since there is a line of dialogue with each one, you have to unlock each boss' picture with each of the playable girls.  It would be nice if subsequent runs with the same girl marked which answer(s) you gave and the rating.  Like the ward types, there's no way I'm going to remember 23 different answers for six different girls.

There are four difficulty levels, and you will get a special item by completing each level with each girl.  These can be used by everyone in a subsequent game, so there's no reason to skip the easy setting.  My first game was on normal, and I won.  Completing normal with a girl will unlock hard difficulty for her, and completing hard will open the hardest difficulty.  While there were some times my honor was low, I was never in any real danger of losing, even on hard (I haven't done the hardest yet).  Once you figure out what you have to do, the game isn't too hard to complete.

Each run takes about 2 hours or so, depending on difficulty, skill usage, random events, and what tattoos you buy.  With six girls and four difficulty settings each, that can be a lot of staring at the map as it changes colors.  I went through four times with various girls on different difficulties.  If you want the platinum trophy, you have to go through the game with each girl at least eight times.  That seems a bit excessive.

Tokyo Tattoo Girls is definitely a unique game.  While there isn't a whole lot happening on the screen at any given time, you do have to pay attention and do some mirco-managing.  Even so, it's kind of relaxing and I found some enjoyment playing the game.  I don't know if I'd recommend it, since I think most people will be turned off by the lack of things to do.  People that enjoy sim games might enjoy it though.

The Good:
Unique game, can be kind of relaxing.

The Bad:
A lot happens automatically, and not a lot is going on most of the time.

The SaHD:
I once had 17 zones taken over at the same time or within a turn of each other...that was very hectic, as I barely had a chance to save or even use a skill between dialogue scenes.

(Review code for Tokyo Tattoo Girls was provided by the publisher)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ittle Dew 2+ (Switch) Review

I'm not familiar with Ittle Dew 2+, as I had not even heard of the first game.  Given that it was on mobile, PC, and Wii U, that's not surprising.  When I saw a screenshot of the sequel, I knew I wanted to play it.

If you have played the old (and awesome) top-down Legend of Zelda games, Ittle Dew will look very familiar.  Same perspective, similar idea.  As Ittle and her flying fox friend Tippsie, you must brave the eight dungeons to rebuild your raft, and continue your adventure.  The game also looks really good.  It mostly appears cel-shaded, but with a hand-drawn style mixed in.  Character portraits are very expressive, and the dialogue is pretty funny, too.  It obvious from the get go that the game doesn't take itself too seriously, all the way through the end credits.

As you wander around the island, you will fight many enemies.  Or, run past a lot of them, as I ended up doing.  Combat is pretty solid, save for the hit detection.  It feels like it was a bit too easy for me to get hit, especially when trying to attack foes.  There are weapon upgrades that give extra range to your attack, which helps this problem, but doesn't do much for the first couple of hours.  There is a roll, but the timing of it never quite clicked with me.  I could get it to work sometimes, but most times it just didn't work out.  It's also way too easy to fall into pits.  I lost track of the number of times I would just slide in, while feeling I had room.  That got annoying.

Besides your melee weapon, you eventually find a wand, ice ring, and dynamite.  The wand is not very strong, but gives you a distance advantage.  It's also really hard to aim.  Using the d-pad buttons on the switch, I could aim in the 8 standard directions without much trouble, but enemies could be at any angle.  Using the analog stick to precisely aim was a huge pain.  It reminds me of aiming in twin stick shooters, which is something I am really bad at.  So, if you are comfortable with those, aiming the wand might not be so hard for you.  The overly sensitive nature of the analog stick may be why I was filling into pits so many times.

The ice ring creates a block of ice, which can be pushed.  It can also damage enemies.  The range of the attack is abysmally short, because it's a ring, so I barely used it for that purpose.  It is the only thing that can damage the slime enemies, which thankfully you don't encounter very often.  The stick of dynamite is slightly more useful as a weapon.  You put it just in front of you, and it will explode after a short time.  If you have used a bomb item in any similar game, you will get the idea.  It's still not the best weapon, as you have to get close enough that the blast will affect the enemy, which can get you hurt.  At least the explosion doesn't hurt you.

These weapons also double as puzzle solving devices, which is pretty neat and pulled off well.  The stick can hit switches and light fires (when the weapon itself is on fire).  The dynamite can destroy some blocks, but also trigger switches with a delay.  This is used more than you might think.  The blocks the ring makes can be used to depress pressure plates, which is absurdly useful.  The wand is used to hit switches from a distance.

While these may seem mundane, the way they work together is impressive.  You can hit the ice block and shave a part of it off, making a diagonal surface.  This allows you to reflect the wand attacks, or push it at an angle.  The dynamite can be frozen, giving you more time to move away before it blows.  The wand can also be used to move push blocks at a distance, or even diagonally.  That last bit tripped me up at a puzzle late in the game.  The puzzles are a decent spread of easy, medium, and hard ones, but boy are those hard ones difficult.  The dream world has a dungeon for each item, where you can only use that item.  Sadly, I can't figure half of them out.

While the map can be a pain to access (hitting the Minus Button on the Joy-con isn't really convenient), it is very detailed, and I like it.  Since so much of the game is exploration, all cave and building entrances are marked on the map once you find them.  Caves that link multiple areas are clearly marked, and if you find all of the stuff in a place, it gets a check mark so you know you don't have to go back there.  Dungeons get a little crown on them if you have found everything inside as well.  There are maps that tell you where some of the secrets are, and it marks these locations with an "X".  Overall a great map system.

The first half of the game felt very fast, which then slowed down in the second half.  Probably because I starting dying a lot.  Enemies do a lot of damage, which is exacerbated when they shoot out way too many projectiles.  Oh, and did I mention the projectiles have decent tracking on them?  Yeah, that's pretty dumb.  That's why I ended up just running away from enemies, as they started getting pretty cheap.

I took less than 8 hours to complete it, so it's a pretty short game, but there's good replay and speed run potential.  I didn't do all of the optional and dream dungeons, mostly because I'm not good enough to do them.  The dungeons can be done out of order, and there are shortcuts in each if you do so.  There's also lock picks that you can use instead of a dungeon key, which will be fun to see which ones people skip.  I'm actually very interested in seeing a speed run of this game.

Old school top-down action adventure fans should definitely check out Ittle Dew 2+.  It scratched a gaming itch I've had for awhile, and looked awesome doing it.  It had a few flaws that grew as the game progressed, but I ultimately enjoyed it.  If you want a fun game..."Ittle Dew".

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

The Good:
Great map, lots of exploration, inventive puzzles.

The Bad:
Enemy attacks, damage, and sliding into all of those pits.

The SaHD:
So, are the health potions alcohol or something?

(Review code for Ittle Dew 2+ was provided by the publisher)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Creeping Terror (3DS) Review

When a group of friends enter a creepy mansion , they end up getting a memorable experience...just not the one they hoped for.  Ultimately, they have to survive the horrors that await them in Creeping Terror, a 2-D side scrolling horror game on the Nintendo 3DS.

The game starts off pretty slow.  It sets up the story, then has you explore the underground area for a bit.  The game then picks up when you finally find hit the first enemy encounter.  I tried to run away, but my stamina drained really fast.  I walked away as I waited for it to recover, but got caught.  So, I had to mash the A Button to escape.  It appeared as though I filled the meter in time, but fell over.  Then, I had to quickly mash it again.  Like the first time, it appeared like I won, but didn't.  Game over, man.

Okay, then, time to try again.  This time I skipped the event scene, which was not a good idea.  This didn't give me any time to start moving away, and was immediately caught.  Knowing a button mashing segment was coming up, I won it.  I took off and escaped.

Most of the time, you will be walking around the different areas and finding items.  Arisa moves pretty slowly, but you can hold down the R Button to run.  When not being chased by an enemy, your stamina is infinite.  The abandoned buildings and caves Arisa explores can be very dark, but thankfully she brought her phone, which is used as a flashlight (because of course there's no reception).  Some items are usable inventory items, such as food to replenish your max stamina, a charger for your phone, and defensive items to use on the monsters.  There are also necessary keys and such for progression, and collectible notes to find.  The notes provide some nice backstory.

While you won't run into enemies constantly, it does happen.  Since there is no real way to fight back (the usable items only stall the enemy for a few seconds), you'll have to book it out of there and find a place to hide.  While you do have the time and space to run away, the hiding places aren't marked on your map.  While some would say that makes it too easy, it's not always easy to remember where they were, since the map has no real detail on it, other than a basic layout.  When I know an enemy is near, I make sure to know where the closest hiding spot it.  At least the safe rooms are properly marked.

If a monster catches Arisa, as noted before, you will have to mash the A Button to escape.  Getting caught lowers the max stamina, which then shortens the distance you can run.  Another hazard to avoid while escaping are the small piles of rubble that Arisa trips on.  To avoid this, have your phone on.  Yes, tripping while running from the monster is a horror cliche, but I give credit for making a logical reason for it to happen.

The game isn't really hard, but it's easy to get lost.  Several times I wasn't sure exactly what to do, and would just wander around until something happened.  One time I ended up triggering an event where I lost an item, and retrieving it gave me the actual item I needed.  I generally had an idea whereabouts I should look, but not always the exact place.

It only takes about 4 hours or less to get through the game, but there are a few different endings.  That's some decent replayability.  The game is short enough that you can do multiple runs without a huge time commitment.  I'd also recommend doing a playthrough in as few settings as you can manage.  This makes it much easier to remember where things are located.

While not the type of game I usually play, Creeping Terror was pretty fun.  It's a well made game that could use a few improvements (I'd really like hiding places marked on the map), but is worth playing through at least once.  It can be scary, but was less so when I figured out the tell for most enemy appearances.

The Good:
Interesting and well made horror game.

The Bad:
Easy to get lost, would like some more detail on the map.

The SaHD:
One enemy you can hide from should be able to smell you, whether or not it can see you.

(Review code for Creeping Terror was provided by the publisher)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PS4) Review

A new MMO has hit the scene in Gamindustri.  Gaining access to the beta, the four CPUs and CPU candidates take to the internet and create characters that...look justlike they do.  Oh, so they are those kind of people I guess.  Time for Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online.

I'm pretty sure this is a spin-off game, since it doesn't play like the core games.  It more resembles the hack and slash releases like Tagmension, but even then doesn't feel enough like them.  The areas are bigger than Neptunia fans have dealt with before, and the action takes place in the same environment.  It's all real time, too.  Like an MMO, you fight enemies, gather materials, and open chests.  Also like an MMO, the initial loading to start the game takes a long time.  Thankfully, most loading in the game is very short.

The controls feel off to me, and took time to get used to.  The Square Button is attack, and X is jump, both of which make sense to me.  Triangle uses an item, if they are set.  I'd like it better if you could cycle to "no item" even with some equipped, so you won't accidentally use one.  R1 locks on to an enemy.  It wouldn't be my preferred button, but I eventually got used to it.  Holding L1 brings up the skill pallet, mapping them to the face buttons.  R2 is block, and L2 is dodge.

While initially I thought the dodge would be useful, it doesn't seem to do much.  It's fast, but doesn't go far, nor seem to offer invincibility.  Blocking is much more useful.  It not only lowers damage received, but if you time it correctly, you will parry the attack, taking zero damage, and hit them back.  The timing for the parry doesn't seem that strict, and I was able to pull it off fairly regularly.  However, the block itself can be very fickle.  There were plenty of times I would hold the button, and not actually be blocking.  You can cut some attack animations with it, but many others leave you wide open, as you won't enter a blocking state if you press the button too early.  That's what annoys me the most about it.  It can also be hard to tell if you are actually blocking because of all the action and effects on the screen.  If I can see I'm not blocking, I know to press and hold the button again, instead of thinking I am and taking full damage.  Blocking and parrying were very helpful throughout the game, but could be made more reliable.

In addition to a control scheme that feels off, the jumping and movement are also finicky.  Both feel too sensitive, with slight movements making the character go farther than I intended.  It's very hard to do small adjustments.  Turning was almost the opposite.  Pushing in a different direction doesn't immediately have the character face that way.  Instead, they turn more toward the way, but not enough.  It's most pronounced when you barely miss grabbing a gathering point.  These are definitely some things I'd like to see modified to make movement feel better.

You can only directly control the leader, but you can switch who the leader is.  I wouldn't recommend doing it in combat, since you switch leader and party members through the menu.  Someway to quickly switch would be nice.  The other three characters are controlled by the AI.  You can vaguely direct what they do based off the AI settings, but that still leaves much to be desired.  They rarely block or attempt to dodge attacks, even if doing so will save their life.  Healers only really heal if people are under 1/3 their total HP, which may be too late.  It could be that sometimes they are out of SP, but without a quick way to switch to them, I rarely have time to check.  Setting them to behave like their class makes it a bit better, but they still die because they are low on HP and don't make an attempt to survive.  Since it's really hard and costly to resurrect someone in the field, I'd prefer they try and live instead.

The environments themselves present some problems.  Many times I would get stuck on a wall, or small bump on the floor.  Sometimes the hang-up is when you try to jump, lowering the distance you will travel.  Enemies are really bad at realizing terrain heights, and sometimes just stand around if you are higher or lower than they are.  If they do attack, and you parry it, you can be sent off small ledges, which then negates your counter attack.  That's not a great reward for getting the timing right.

I had a few other problems during my time with the game.  I had one crash as I fought a boss, and I'm unsure why that happened.  It was only the once, and while I was annoyed that I lost 45 minutes of work, I can dismiss it as a one-off.  A few times during boss fights I would also get stuck in place.  I could still attack, but couldn't actually move in any direction.  It was really frustrating, and cost me a fight or two.  I eventually figured it's because I was using the awakening skill right next to the boss.  It somehow would trap me inside them.  It stopped happening when I realized the cause, but it's still a bad thing to happen.  Hopefully it gets rectified in the future.

When not in a dungeon, the town menu will look very familiar to Neptunia fans.  There are little chibi sprites of the people about town, and putting the cursor over them will have speech bubbles.  You can select the various shops, services, look for a guild quest, or view new events.  There's even a board for the multiplayer quests.  In a nod to Dragon Quest, you can only choose to save in the cathedral.  Other than that, that game auto saves when you go back to town.  Sadly, you only get this save, and cannot choose a different save slot.  I haven't had an issue with it, but I'm not a fan of just one save slot, and having that slot an auto-save in an RPG.

Half of the time, the story progression feels very fast.  You hit key points with speedy regularity.  The other half of the time, story progression is aimless.  You aren't really told what to do, and basically must resort to doing random guild quests.  After doing a few, a story event will appear, and you can proceed onwards.  It's a weird dichotomy that never feels right.  At least I only had to grind once or twice.  It's also one of the shortest Neptunia games, taking about 20 hours from start to end.  If you want platinum trophy completion, it's probably a few hours after that.

Overall, I think Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is pretty fun.  I'd recommend it to fans of the Neptunia series, even though they have likely already played it.  It has some annoyances, and could use another layer of polish, but it's still pretty enjoyable.

The Good:
I enjoyed the story and presentation of the game.

The Bad:
Story progression feels aimless at times, the AI isn't great, and the controls took me awhile to get used to.

The SaHD:
I wondered why Blanc didn't create her character with big...uh, file sizes.  Strangely, they did address this in a side skit, which I didn't think they would have thought of.  Also, this game should really be Vert's.  While they make a joke about that, it's silly she still doesn't have one when the rest (and IF) do.

(Review code for Cyberdimension Neptunia was provided by the publisher)

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Mummy Demastered (PC) Review

What happens when you mix WayForward's wonderful sprite animation, their metroidvania pedigree, and a blockbuster movie license?  Well, you end up with The Mummy Demastered, a 16-bit looking side scrolling action adventure...that needs better mixing.

Off the bat, the game looks really cool.  The sprites and animation are top-notch, and what I expect from WayForward.  The music ranges from average and forgettable to downright annoying.  You control your agent to run and gun through several areas of the map that don't always feel like they should match up.  I mean, if you are that close to the headquarters, why would you take a helicopter to the starting area?

Anyway, the map isn't the point of the game.  The action is.  Too bad it's just not that good.  Hit boxes seem off, the damage is too high, and there are too many enemies on most screens.  Crows move in medusa head patterns, and are somehow not the most annoying enemy.  Screens have lots of little crawling and jumping monsters that can be hard to aim at.  Many enemies have cheap placement just off screen so you hit them when you are trying to advance.  Most things take too many shots from your default gun, which drags down the fun.  To top it off, you can't even damage things that are too close to you, but of course they hit you, even if it doesn't seem like they even touched you.

You will get new weapons to use, but they all have limited ammo.  So, you may be like me and save them for bosses.  Even so, you will quickly run out of ammo in those fights.  Outside of boss battles, there are plenty of ammo drops, but still not enough to replenish what you use just to go anywhere.  If you are full of an ammo type, it will still be dropped.  Why not replace that with health?  Health pick-ups don't drop near frequently enough, considering how much damage enemies can do.  Plus, there are no rooms that restore your health to full, meaning you have to grind to restore it.  Not a good design decision.

Boss fights aren't much better.  The first was fine, but the second was just a horrible experience.  Lots of damage, lots of time, and it didn't always stick to its patterns.  In fact, they all take way too much time if you just use the default gun.  Because of the death mechanic (see rant below), you won't get any spent ammo back if you die.  So, you have to either hope you win, take forever, or grind for drops.  Not a great choice.

How about the platforming?  Well, it's not that great either.  It feels a bit stiff.  I'm not sure if there is a slight delay in jumping, or maybe the floor properties of the ledge aren't great, but there were plenty of times I tried to jump off a platform only to fall down.  I was playing with an Xbox 360 controller, and it didn't feel like it was a peripheral issue, just an issue in the game.  There's also plenty of low and inconsiderate ceilings that can get in the way of jumps.  I will admit the ceiling grab you get is really cool, even if the environment designs quickly limit how much you can use it.  It's like Mark of Kri all over again.

Now we can move on to the unique mechanic in the game that I alluded to earlier: the death mechanic.  If/when you die, your agent revives as a zombie.  At first I thought it was a cute animation, but nope, it's an actual enemy you fight.  Oh, and did I mention that it has your stuff?  Well, it does.  So, now you have to kill it.  With the default weapon.  And the default health.

You read that right, you have no upgrades whatsoever, because this is a new agent.  So you have to fight an enemy that has the weapons you did, but with the default stuff.  Ugh.  Oh, and you will only get back the ammo you lost.  Did you have 5 shots left in that machine gun?  That's what you recover.  Never mind that the zombie agent shot at you with that same gun 50 times, or threw 10 grenades, since you clearly didn't have that.  Somehow, he did.

It's a nice idea.  It fits with the game theme.  It's also not fun at all, and in fact sucks out any fun you were having.  You just end up in a worse position than when you died.  Thankfully if you die on a boss, the undead agent won't be with the boss, but the room before.  Since it automatically saves when you die, you have to get creative to avoid it.  Once I reached a new save point, I would quit out and copy that file to an empty slot.  If I died, I would copy it back and continue on, so I could avoid the annoyance.  That's not an effective way to play a game, but made it less stressful.

Like other metroidvanias, there are secret rooms and items to collect.  The teleport rooms are nice, as it's just a chopper that you ride to other drop zones.  The elevators to other areas are rappelling stations.  Another nice fit.  I'm also a fan of opening up some blocked rooms with grenades and their upgrades.  All three of these things are very appropriate to the setting, and are pulled off well.  Past that, we also get collectibles.  Not upgrades, actual little trinkets you pick up that don't really do anything.  I guess they ran out of useful stuff for players to find.  While I'm not opposed to collectibles in games, these don't feel like there was any care put into them.  The medallions are seemingly placed at random, and rarely hidden.

I'm not sure I have to reiterate my overall feelings on the game, since it should be pretty obvious.  The Mummy Demastered is far from WayForward's best work, and also not a very fun game.  It has promise, but fails to deliver in just about every way.  I wouldn't recommend it to metroidvania action/adventure fans.  Maybe if you really liked the latest movie, but even though I doubt it.  Well, at least it doesn't have a melee counter that you constantly need!

The Good:
Graphics and animation are good.  Some elements seem very appropriate to the setting and license.

The Bad:
Too many enemies; too much damage; hit, ledge, and jumping detection feel off; the death mechanic, and really just a lot of things, big and small.

The SaHD:
I shudder to think what the game would play like if it came out when the movie did.

(Review code for The Mummy Demastered was provided by the publisher)