The Banner Saga Review

The Banner Saga first released in early 2014 for Windows and Mobile, the fantasy tactical RPG that fast became a cult hit amongst gamers. Stoic Studio and Versus Evil have since brought it to consoles and much recently released it on the Nintendo Switch, so more can play and witness what The Banner Saga has to offer. Shall we call all bannermen? Or is it not worth bothering them?

The sun has stopped moving over a world populated by Humans and Varls, the latter of which are a giant-type race which commonly resemble the towering Vikings from all the stories. All would be fine if a third race, the Dredge decided not to come back from extinction with the intention of killing all in their path.

The events preceding the fight for survival were to bring the two long standing races together in an alliance. Things went awry when one of those leading the caravan across the land to escort the Prince of the Human capital to the Varl capital was slain in combat. From there it is a constant effort to stay alive, seek shelter and look after the many under your care, with the ultimate end goal of thwarting the Dredge’s plans.

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It’s a typical fantasy setting that features unique context which makes it feel fresh and un-like anything played before-hand. What I often find annoying about the fantasy style of games is how similar many of them come across in their story, with only a few outliers, this is one of those that manages to stray from the norm.

Gameplay sticks to the common formula used in the tactical genre, particularly in combat. Characters are placed on a grid field at the beginning, there is a preparation phase in which you have a limited set of space in which to place your heroes at the start of a fight. Once ready, the battle begins and the entire field opens up. There is a turn order which sees you go, then the AI and back to you etc. The best thing about this sequence is it doesn’t leave much space in between your interactions and certainly makes it feel more like a chess game as opposed to being able to attack with two or more at once, you are almost certain to take some hits. It feels like each battle there is this sense of urgency to take out the enemy as soon as possible.

When it comes to your turn there are a few options and things to consider, where to move to, who to attack and how to attack. It takes some thought but isn’t overly complex, meaning it keeps the entry level minimum and overall the combat is enjoyable to take part in.

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Outside of fighting is a generally more peaceful venture, you follow your caravan on their journey and make choices along the way that will shape how things unfold. There are animated scenes although few and far between and show the travel more than specific actions or dialogue exchanges between characters. The latter of which is usually an image of the speaking character along with the text on the screen and sometimes their voice too.

The animated art style I feel is the perfect choice, it reminds me of the animated Lord of the Rings film and puts a somewhat fresh and fun look on a bleak story and setting. Colours have been used to great effect in showing the wear and tear on the world around you and puts an emphasis on the snow-covered vistas.

The sound design is where this shines the most, every aspect of voice, sound effects and music just fits in perfectly. Tailor-made for the experience and immersing you into the harsh environments and encounters. It all screams tough and Viking, with sounds of wood, metal, wind and even string instruments coming together to draw you in and believe in what’s happening in front of you.

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The Banner Saga brings to life old tales in a thoughtful way, filled with endearing characters, impossible odds to overcome and gorgeous visuals. All sewn together with its expertly crafted audio design. The gameplay still comes across as a little slow and basic for what it is, but doesn’t stop this being a great journey to embark upon.

OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of The Banner Saga, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

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Earthfall Review

Shoutout to Rhys for being awarded the Friendly-Fire King of Earthfall 2018.

There is literally no better way to describe this other than: Earthfall is like a somewhat buggy spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead with aliens instead of zombies. It feel like an uninspired phrase to coin in on but it has never been more true, never have I felt the mechanics of Valve’s first-person zombie masterclass recreated so well. It feels more like homage than replication.

Earthfall was developed by Holospark, a team made of people that have had their fingers in many pies over the years. People who’ve had a hand in Destiny, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, No One Lives Forever 2,,Call of Duty 3, F.E.A.RBioshock Infinite, Dawn of War III & inFamous 2 to just name a few. It’s safe to say the team carries some hefty calibre.

It scratches that itch, the itch I’ve not been allowed to touch for years. Can you believe that it will be 10 years in November, nearly a decade since the launch of Left 4 Dead 2 and Earthfall is like the cooling balm needed, because that itch has been turning into something I caught once… we won’t go into detail.

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Four survivors (players or A.I) fight their way through hordes of aliens on a mission to exterminate the invaders. It’s set some years after invasion and seems mid way through terra-forming – there is alien fauna mixed with our own across the landscape. Our four heroes are searching for the hive, to take out the menace at the source.

Maybe it’s the fact that I had overplayed the hell out of L4D2 but I find Earthfall’s protagonists much more engaging. Their backstories and portrayal feels much less “b-movie” than I had expected. Voice acting is great and thankfully keeps the game “cheese-free” due to zero cringeworthy lines of dialogue.

Visually it meets the mark, volumetric lighting a standout for me. Running the game on maximum settings with a constant 115 frames per second was pleasing to say the least. It’s attainable due to the nature of the game. L4D2 ran perfectly well when it launched back in the day and other similar games managed to do so – Vermintide springs to mind, that and its recent sequel manages to amaze in its optimisation. Earthfall is no different.

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Akin to the above mentioned titles, Earthfall is not short of enemy variants. Light and heavy infantry, ones that run up and grab you by the head before running away, ones that pounce on you and keep you pinned, some explode and others spit at you. Then you have the heavy-weights, a futuristic energy shielded squid-like thing that causes an E.M.P on arrival and the massive brute similar to the Tank from L4D but this time totes a massive laser cannon in its mouth.

Gadgets and weaponry are just cool, although being able to use a 3D printer to print an infinite amount of firepower may be making things a little too easy. Three versions of an mp5, two versions of an AK47, a few shotguns, a sniper, couple pistols and a heavy Gatling gun or flame thrower… standard fair for this type of shooter. The plasma rifle is my favourite by far. The barricade gadget is one of the most welcome items I’ve come across in gaming for ages, forming a mesh-fence barricade with automatic door to block access from the waves of aliens and you can upgrade them with an Arc grenade to give them an electrified effect.

Where the game falls short is in its length (at least for now), it has just 2 campaigns – each five missions long and maintaining the usual linear paths of hold/defence of the genre. A.I on both sides – the aliens and your companions – needs some refinement. Such as one of my guys refusing to pick up a weapon or the grabby-alien not really running away when he gets hold of you. The balancing of the aliens also needs to be questioned, the Thresher (pouncer) for example carries far to much health and deals too much damage for my tastes and the biggest guy, you know, laser-cannon mouth, is not fast enough to catch you unless you have lost a serious chunk of health yourself.

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Even on the games easiest setting it can still be quite unforgiving. However this is made easier by the fact you can revive players on the spot. Like L4D you get knocked down and can still fire you pistol for a time or until you get incapacitated. After which you must then search for the last survivor in cupboards or rooms along the route to recover the team to its full. Earthfall lets you revive them there an then, unless you’re being battered and have to leg it.

And as I mentioned earlier, the fact you can print endless weaponry offers the player too much power, a hold-out mission at a church stands out in particular because you can print infinite Arc grenades and the better of the AK47’s. As long as those playing understand the very basics of the game it becomes very difficult to lose the battle. Shoutout to Rhys for being awarded the Friendly-Fire King of Earthfall 2018.

This was genuinely hard to write about. The gameplay is great and it all looks sexeh, aside from a few niggles, bugs and some needed tweaking I can see Earthfall being a title I return to for years. Adding a few more campaigns would be number one on my to-do list. If you love the L4D format, love aliens or just solid shooters you can’t go wrong here.

OVERALL: 7.4/10 – GOOD

Written by Michael Jones.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Earthfall, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Far Cry 5 Review

So here we are with another iteration to the Far Cry franchise but this time with a twist from it’s original exotic far away places, Far cry 5 is the same experience you come to expect from the franchise only this time it has a twist, that twist is its set in a local that is far more relatable.

So here we are with another iteration to the Far Cry franchise but this time with a twist from its original exotic far away places. Far Cry 5 is the same experience you come to expect from the franchise only this time it is set in Hope County, Montana, a location that is far more relatable, and much closer to home for our American cousins, of course it’s a fictional town filled with its own demons and those trying to escape from them.

The very beginning of the game sees you travelling by helicopter with a U.S. Marshal to arrest this cult leader who has been capturing people and torturing them to follow his fanatical ways.

This is where the game first introduces you to Joseph Seed aka The Father of Edens gate or PEGIS (Project At Edens Gate) as the locals call them. As you walk past all the cult members in the early cut scene you are introduced to the leader and his 3 generals with a moment that brings chills down your spine.

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Your first choice in the game is to arrest the father or leave, that’s your choice to make, but let’s go by my choice for now. As you take the father in handcuffs to the extraction helicopter the cult start to become enraged around you and shout and scream at you, once the father is on the helicopter you see how devoted they are, they jump into the blades of the helicopter sacrificing themselves and causing the helicopter to crash.

From this moment is where Far Cry gives you the reigns albeit for a short period, once you have escaped the cult and located a safe bunker you’re introduced to the first character that will talk to you through the whole campaign, his name is Dutch. This instalment in the series changes up it’s standard formula of using specific named characters, in hope county you are an unnamed deputy so it’s down to you how you look and what you wear. The customisation is not incredibly detailed but does give you enough for variety in character looks, after all variation is the spice of life.

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Once you have created your character you are introduced to a quest that shows Ubisoft has heard the gripes that fans have had with their early iterations of the series and they even poke fun at themselves. But of course we all know which part of the games we all had issues with and that is of course the 100 Towers you have to climb to earn weapons and skill points.

Something long time fans found is the staple of unlocking weapons and locations, fear not however, this is the only time in the entire campaign you have to do this and Dutch even references that in his communication at the end.

Driving is back but this time with more control than ever before, you don’t feel like the vehicles in the game are unrealistically hard to control and getting from one section to another is easier with the inclusion of planes and helicopters which are something new to the franchise.

The county of Montana is split into 3 large regions each rich with side quests, collectables and side games to play or ignore that’s your choice. Each region is run by one of the father’s generals and they hint at which one you should start off liberating first and yet the choice is completely yours.

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Each section can be liberated by completing the side quests and destroying certain objects which differ in each region, in John’s region you have to destroy the silos containing fertilizer that the cult uses to create explosives for example. As you traverse the map you don’t have set pointers on where you should go but instead the story missions occur only after you have conquered enough of the territory which is another first for Far Cry.

Each territory is unique to the general who over sees it and the enemies vary from each zone to the next, the story itself feels solid and fun to play through with characters that don’t seem impossible or unrealistic.

This new formula makes you search out parts of the map for secrets such as prepper stash’s that grant you guns, cash and skill points. You gain these skill points from finding skill books or completing objectives, like getting 100 kills using a pistol, the skills you unlock help with progression through the tougher region and allow you to improve your character and adapt it to your play style.

You’re introduced to your companions by finding their quests in the world or rescuing civilians from the PEGIS, the named characters have set quests that in the end afford you the ability to call on them for help throughout the game.

The iconic character is Boomer who’s traits allow him to mark all enemies close by and even steal their weapons and bring them to you, every recruit-able character be it named or otherwise has unique traits, the civilian characters unlock two traits as you use and play alongside them.

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The map itself is as you’d expect from, lots of secrets areas and wildlife that is not always friendly. You almost feel as if it could be a real place even the stories you hear around the world help to entrench you deep within this worlds lore.

A new addition is the inclusion of Far Cry arcade, this mode lets you use the skills you have unlocked in missions created by the map maker, something that’s very enjoyable to play around with and includes assets from other Ubisoft titles.

Now we talk about the dreaded micro-transactions that have plagued games for a while now, although these are present, they are not game changing and are just a quick way for those of us who do not have the time to play for hours to unlock weapons and vehicles. If you don’t have enough cash for a costume or vehicle then you can use the currency which is a reward for completing the weekly challenges or finding small amounts in game. Not once did i feel I was locked out of content by this barrier which is a great move, but for those of us who want the benefits but don’t have the time to grind for them it’s helpful.

The weekly challenges change each week and grant you unique in game costumes and weapons that would not be available by any other in game means. These challenges set you out to complete a milestone by doing a certain task such as playing arcade for 20 minutes which would reward you with the vector and an in-game arcade skin, the challenges also offer you silver bars which are micro-transaction items.

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Now once you’ve finished the main story and completed as many side quests as you choose to, there are other activities such as the clutch Nixon events which gives you a vehicle and pits you against the AI in extravagant courses somewhat reminiscent to that of Evel Knievel.

For those who want to just spend time and admire the county of Montana there are fishing spots that you can go to and even try and break records set in each region, upgrade your fishing rod and have fun, but beware of bears.

The customisation available for the weapons is a fun inclusion and allows you to customise how you play the missions using your favourite weapons. Each weapon has a standard set of attachments and even skins that can be used, each of which change how the gun operates and often changes the play style of the game itself, want to go stealth then throw on a silencer etc. Although the customisation is limited its not small enough to feel useless.

Overall once these activities and side quests have been completed Far Cry 5 still brings you back with the Arcade builder, but having said that the game can become stale after a prolonged period of time, this is something they can improve on with more DLC, weapons and enemies to fight.

OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT

Reviewed by Adam Walters.

Far: Lone Sails Review

The required pace needed is that of geriatric Hamster towing a crate of avocado mash with pesto and bacon bits (I’m hungry again).

I’m gonna be brutal here. I really enjoyed Far: Lone Sails, it amused me …it tickled the proverbial nip and charmed me from start to finish. But the more I think about it, the more I confuse myself with my own opinion of it.

Developer, Okomotive plug it on Steam with;

“Traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization. Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions. How far can you make it? What will you find?”

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I’m just going to break that down for you. “Traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization” – The word “traverse” implies some thoughtful and challenging platforming (er..No) and the seabed is bloody loaded with stuff to pick up.

Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles” – As I just mentioned, the seabed is crowded with junk, junk you can burn in your fusion reactor (it’s not really a fusion reactor, I just watched Back to the Future). My Vessel was chock full of stuff to burn; chairs, lamps, crates, suitcases …toilets – all fuel for the beast!

Overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions” – Some shallow physics-based puzzles which were really not puzzles at all. There’s only one way to go, towards the solution up ahead and as for weather conditions, Pah! A thunder/hail storm which isn’t able to entirely damage your Mad Max machine due to the over head cover available and there’s a Volcano eruption at the end which you have to run away from, except the required pace needed is that of geriatric Hamster towing a crate of avocado mash with pesto and bacon bits (I’m hungry again).

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“How far can you make it? What will you find?” – All the bloody way, thanks. And I found bugger all too! Seriously, I read that quote as a challenge with a touch mystery tagged on. Gently caressing my ego like a Fabergé egg being pelted with feathers. The expedition lasted 90 minutes and all I found was stuff to burn. Gits!

All that said, It was still fun, enjoyable and relaxing. It begins at a grave, paying respects to a loved one apparently, although I saw it as you’ve just disposed of a problem …Mafia style – regardless, its unclear which holds truth (hoping the latter). From the grave you head home, through your home, out the other side, down the beach and into the “Vessel” – it appears I had already packed. Away we go. There are no loading screens, no menu at the start. Just a no-nonsense attitude which sets up the minimalistic and tutorial light nature of the experience to follow perfectly.

You play what looks like a cross between Tank Girl and a Kleptomania suffering Red Riding Hood. When entering structures or the sand barge the front face disappears, allowing you to see the interior easily. The vehicle is set up with a few modules from the offset – the engine, the fuel thingy and a firehose. You pick up a few more as you “explore”. Every module is activated by a big red button that you either jump into or push. When you get rolling, when you’ve “found” the sail and the suction tube and wheels with better traction you can really get some speed, this is the only time where that “difficulty” rears its lazy head. Managing your speed by releasing steam from the engine whilst also refuelling and stocking all the debris sucked up by the tube can get somewhat pressing.

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On the whole it was all very easy, I’d be shocked if anyone ran out of fuel. Fixing parts with the repair torch and putting out fires didn’t happen often for me and the only proper puzzle that had me perplexed for over 10 minutes was at the end.

Now the sand trawler sim has won more awards than the average Sundance film, presumably for its visual styling and beautiful use of the 3D-2D engine. It may be set within the same universe as Gears of War because the dry desolate world is 50 shades of …contrasting blacks and whites, with the only spots of colour being red or orange. However, it is stunning, its genuinely charming and I found myself taking 18 screenshots over the first playthrough.

I found myself chilling out. Comfortable with the trip across the sand wastes, playing entirely one-handed and just taking it all in. Until the ending showed up and left me annoyed, almost livid …Is that it? I genuinely wanted more muddy sand to roll across.

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I wanted more puzzles. I wanted fewer resources. Alternate paths. Characters to meet and assist. I wanted a co-operative partner like Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime. If any one these could be added then my estimation of the game would sky-rocket. Yet sadly, as it is Far: Lone Sails falls neatly into the “experience” category rather than into the “Game” category and all I can really hope for is some planned content further down the line but for now this is definitely a title more suited for the mobile market.

OVERALL: 6.4/10 AVERAGE

Written by Michael Jones

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Far: Lone Sails, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

The Spectrum Retreat Review

The Spectrum Retreat is a captivating narrative-driven puzzler developed by Dan Smith Studios. This challenging, first-person game is set in the near future, your job is to manipulate your way to the truth.

It opens with you being woken up by a courtesy call at your door. Once you answer it you’ll be greeted by a slenderman-ish robot servant reminding you that it’s time to get up for the day. Upon investigating the Penrose Hotel you’ll find that you’re the only person actually living within it and the rest is filled with various mechanical helpers who only have a sentence or two of programmed dialogue and who you never actually see move. The whole thing is weird as can be, but it only gets weirder from there.

After a while you’ll have someone ring you on the phone who claims to be from “the outside” and says she knows that you’re in danger and being held against your will. The only way to uncover the truth and escape is to gain access to the other levels of the hotel. In order to do so, you must solve a series of puzzles that will unlock the other floors. This might seem like a bizarre request, but then again you’re walking around in an empty hotel with a bunch of strange stationary robots, so maybe playing along isn’t the craziest option.

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BAFTA Young Game Designer winner, Dan Smith and publisher Ripstone Games have released the narrative puzzler The Spectrum Retreat on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch (The game is available now).

Dan Smith picked up the Young Game Designer gong in 2016 for his prototype of The Spectrum Retreat and has continued to develop the game over the last couple of years.

“The last few years have been a great experience”, said Dan Smith, Designer of The Spectrum Retreat. “When I first began development, I couldn’t have anticipated that five years later we’d be releasing a game like this and that I would pick up a BAFTA along the way. The Spectrum Retreat is built on the mechanics I developed a few years ago, but they’re now integrated with a mature, absorbing story and setting. It’s been great to push the game further in every aspect and to craft an engaging world that can deliver the puzzles and story together.”

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The puzzles are at the heart of the game, and they are generally quite pleasant. At first, you only need to swap colors to overcome different barriers. You only start with orange and white, so nothing too complex, but in the end you will also have green and blue. While this may not sound like much, adding puzzles to new mechanics adds some tricky late game play. The only real problem with these riddles is the severity of the punishment if you break out; In the event that you fail one of the longer puzzles having to restart the entire puzzle is immensely annoying. It by no means ruins the game, but it feels like the punishment does not fit the crime.

Each puzzle has its own flow, although the puzzles all have the same base, they feel separate enough to keep them interesting. At no point do the supplements feel overwhelming, nor do they come across as too far apart, it’s an impressive balancing act well mastered here. Once again, there are a lot of little stories going through the carpet of every puzzle, with snippets of history that you can research to help you slowly build to the truth of what has happened.

The way the rooms are made remind me of Portal, in the sense that you have to go room to room to do them and the difficulty rises progressively but not drastically, the visuals do a great job at reminiscing it and i found it enjoyable to be reminded of it.  There will be no spoilers here, but there was a special moment that made one of the puzzles much harder by making the whole thing almost embarrassing.

Visually, The Spectrum Retreat is a bit inconsistent. The parts where you’re exploring the hotel are a lot more polished than the puzzles. If you get too close to certain objects, they lose their readability and look overly simplistic. From afar, most of the hotel looks pretty clean and classy. The puzzles are bold and simplistic and look like something you might have seen in Portal. Luckily, they’re well done so you can forgive the primitive look of them. The Spectrum Retreat also utilizes a lot of purposeful glitches which I haven’t seen used well in a game. It really adds to the unsettling nature of the mystery surrounding the Penrose Hotel and your personal story trying to break through.

There’s not a whole lot of sound to boast, but that adds to the isolated feeling of being trapped in a hotel by yourself. The small amounts of voice acting from the hotel staff and the woman trying to help you are executed well. The background music during the puzzle sections is intense and urgent, but without being overbearing. Overall, I feel that Dan Smith Studios made the right decision when it came to deciding what to do, where less is more.

Clocking in at a little less than three hours, there isn’t much to see here once you’ve completed the game. With only a total of nine collectibles, most players will find these within the initial playthrough, as most are included in linear areas that are required to be explored and emit a blue glow, requiring little effort to locate.

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The combination of running simulator and puzzle integration is very well done, while the drip of the story is steady enough to keep the focus and guide you through the little niggles that arise during a game. The whole thing is connected with great voice work and music. Overall, Spectrum Retreat holds on and refuses to let go, while its clever combination of pure riddling and storytelling provides a pleasurable and unique experience.

The Spectrum Retreat launches on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch on Friday, 13 July 2018, 00:00:00.

OVERALL: 7.9/10 – GOOD

Reviewed by Jack Moody.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of The Spectrum Retreat, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

LEGO The Incredibles Review

As LEGO games have proved in the past they are the perfect palette cleanser between those big releases, that offer something different in terms of aesthetics, gameplay mechanics and are packed with fun moments. The Incredibles or even Disney and Pixar may just be one the most ideal names and brands out there to put with this type of game. They aim to offer enjoyable and charming experiences for all ages. LEGO The Incredibles follows the events of the second film and puts it’s hybrid art-style to work.

I perhaps made the error in playing this before watching the film but on the plus side of that, If I never watch the film due to time and money constraints, I feel like I’ve gotten the jist of what happens in it. The LEGO series have always heavily relied on the source material and has stuck to it more often than not whilst also sprinkling in some new-ness to keep it fresh and slightly unpredictable.

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The Parr family are back and this time it’s to try and make a better name for super’s everywhere, they come up against a villain that makes use of human’s reliance on technology to brainwash the populace of Metroville. It may be the child in me talking but I was consistently interested and entertained throughout, thanks to a story that somehow manages to cater for all ages with underlying mature themes in an immature setting. I almost feel like an English teacher reading too much into things, but still.

It was much to my surprise (for whatever reason because it is something I should have expected), that the first film’s events also feature in this adventure. Upon finishing The Incredibles 2 missions, you then open up the levels based on the first film that help to pad out the game in a meaningful way and gives a glimpse into the earlier days of the Parr family Super-hood. Once all was said and done however, I felt myself wanting a bit more in story based content, original or otherwise.

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The gameplay isn’t so much inspiring as in other titles simply because it takes the very same formula and barely brings anything more to it. Leading to the feeling that if you have played one Lego game, you have played them all in terms of gameplay, visuals and even sounds. The platforming is still technically solid, and the combat is satisfying. What I appreciate about both is that as the player you can opt to play as basic as possible or make use of all the abilities and moves at your disposal for a more varied experience.

Any improvements on the series lately feel more like incremental steps as opposed to huge leaps but do add to the overall package. One new addition that I haven’t personally seen previously is the mid-level builds that require a certain amount of special bricks to produce which in turn allows you to overcome whichever obstacle stands in your way. It just adds to the depth of each level by giving something extra to do.

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An overworld serves as the hub to play around in when between levels and is packed with activities. Find the Incredibricks, acquire gold bricks, erect the family builds and compete in races. All of which you can spend a ton of time doing and before you know it, hours have passed and you haven’t finished a single mission.

The LEGO game art-style is iconic almost, being synonymous with this series of games, mixing in LEGO bricks with a more realistic approach when it comes to the background. This allows for specific props and buildings to really stand out on screen which is put to good use in signalling that it’s breakable and/or can be used in some away to further progression through the level. By no means does it test the boundaries of visual fidelity but these games always look good thanks to the mix of styles.

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When voice acting was introduced years ago into the series it has been a staple ever since and has been vital in immersion building. I find myself getting lost in the story and captivated by the characters because you get to hear them. It often takes me back to the films the lines are from, and nostalgia is always fun. This alongside the soundtrack and effects just makes me so damn happy when jumping around, breaking bricks and waiting for a mate.

The Incredibles lends itself to the LEGO game style and has blended together that results in an engaging story. There are little in ways of innovation, instead opting to stick to the tried and tested formula it has done so well in the past. If you like what TT has done previously and have an affinity for Disney, Pixar or The Incredibles, then this is an absolute no-brainer, you pick this up! Those who aren’t particularly interested may be hard pressed in trying to find the enjoyment.

OVERALL: 7.5/10 – GOOD

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of LEGO The Incredibles, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Phantom Trigger Review

I try my best to avoid a lot of indie titles. Not because of the overall quality but because there are so bloody many! I want to get my hands on most but really haven’t the time or more importantly …the funds. Enter Phantom Trigger, another TinyBuild published title. Developed by Bread Team which have no affiliation with the carb heavy physics marathon that is, I Am Bread.

What drew me towards Phantom Trigger (or PT for short) was the neon art style, reminiscent of Dungeon of the Endless with a squared off level design similar to classic gaming way back in the day and the story it wants to tell.

“Stan is losing control. The phantom realm brings arcane hexes into a pulsing neon reality, where demons fight in packs and use every trick they have to break your defence. Throw spells and traps mid-combo, ride the edge of control and chaos in this fresh take on action combat. You are your own worst enemy in Phantom Trigger.”

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You are Stan, an he looks like a typical bloke getting ready for work in the morning chatting with his wife, a bit of banter over breakfast and what not. Stan takes a nasty (visually hilarious) face plant to the floor mid conversation and the screen blacks out. That’s when we meet the alter-ego The Outsider, its difficult to explain this geezer without giving away some juicy part of the plot.

The Outsider lives within Stan’s head and is persistent battle with Stan’s subconscious and the characters created within. Early on its unclear whether the whole things is a figment of imagination, that none of it is real and its all just Stan’s way of coping with his newly diagnosed illness, or if it’s schizophrenia. or its some thing more …mystical.

Stan spends most of his time in a hospital bed, the doctor’s office or the psychologists and having arguments with his missus about his refusal to surgery. Meanwhile The Outsider scrapes away the boundaries between realities in a fast paced slasher with a deep combo system, fighting against swarms of demons and four big bosses. Particularly liked the third boss, its got a bit of a twist and may take a few attempts to work out what your doing wrong and not being able to damage him.

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In the subconscious you have an accomplished brawler mixing the right amount of enjoyable and rewarding play with a hearty amount of frustration. Expect a few rage quits here and there, maybe a little shouting at the screen, toys out of the pram, …wondering if your monitor would look better between the jaws of a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine (we are not sponsored – I’m just hungry).

Three weapons to master; a green whip, blue sword and red …magic-y fist things. All of which level up as you use them in a standard RPG fashion and at specific ranks unlock new skills and combos. It feels like a bullet hell shooter without the shooting and more dodging, zipping in close to smack something up …before zipping back out again.

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There are collectables along the way, mostly mementos of Stan’s relationship with his wife – a scrappy movie ticket, a photo of the couple. Other items are used to kill the other characters, the other aspects created by Stan’s subconscious that are there to help you understand what’s doing down and offer advice, but usually offer some pointless natter – poisoning the Rabbit for example.

Why kill off those wanting to assist me? I hear you say in an Australian accent (Neighbours is on the other telle while I’m writing). Well, I’m not telling you. There are four alternate endings and you’ll have to connect the dots along five different mindscape worlds and the branching story yourself and it really pays off to explore everywhere for the collectables. 

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Phantom Trigger mixes slasher, RPG and rogue-like genres, totes a rich combo system incorporating fire and ice attacks/spells into your typical button bash. Roughly 5 hours of gameplay on your first play through – it took much less on my second run. It’s polished and smooth however it fell into the old rushed translation faff trap. You know, when they don’t put too much effort in making sure its makes sense in English (see above image). Adventurate!

OVERALL: 6.3/10 – AVERAGE

Reviewed by Michael Jones.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Phantom Trigger, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)