Tag: jody macgregor

Review: Hack ‘n’ Slash


Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Developer: Double Fine
Website: www.hacknslashthegame.com
Australian rating: Unrated

In the Legend Of Zelda games Link spends a lot of time doing the fantasy equivalent of mowing the lawn. He’s constantly swiping at tall grass with his sword while shouting “Hah!” because that grass contains the hearts he needs to replenish his health bar, because video games. In Hack ‘n’ Slash you walk up to a bush, shout “Hah!” and stick your sword in it, but then things get weird. Your sword ends not with a blade but a USB connector and the bush has a matching plug, and when you join the two a text box pops up with a set of variables in it. One of them says “ON_FIRE false”, and you can exchange that “false” for a “true”. As soon as you do the bush bursts into flames with a FWOOSH. Only then do the hearts appear.

Hack ‘n’ Slash is about the other definition of the word hack.


Review: The Walking Dead Season Two


Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, iOS, Android, Ouya, Kindle Fire HDX
Developer: Telltale Games
Website: https://www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead
Australian rating: R18+

The second series of Telltale’s Walking Dead game stars a new protagonist: 10-year-old Clementine. If you thought having a child hero might involve toning things down from the previous season’s tough choices and brutality, the first episode proves you very wrong. It’s not long before survivors are turning on each other and zombies having their heads collapsed, and at one point Clem has to suture a serious wound. I’ve never found it so hard to perform a simple click and drag as I did when pushing that needle.


Zed Games Podcast – Episode 220


Marketing and public relations is a huge part of the video game industry. When it goes right, your game/product can rise to phenomenal heights. When it goes wrong, the results can be spectacular.

To help us understand some the biggest PR blunders in modern gaming history, we’re joined by Cameron Davis – industry veteran and author of Blow The Cartridge.

Jody reviews Sir, You Are Being Hunted. 

Aired 21 May 2014

Zed Games Podcast – Episode 220

Subscribe to the Zed Games Podcast on iTunes


Review: Murdered: Soul Suspect


Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developer: Airtight Games
Website: http://murdered.com
Australian classification: M

My favourite thing about Murdered: Soul Suspect is the cigarette. The main character, Detective Ronan O’Connor, has this hip bartender look: trilby, waistcoat, tattoos, stubble, nicotine addiction. I’m pretty sure he sold me a Corona once and was polite enough not to sneer. But he’s dead now, and also a detective – a ghost detective who has to solve his own murder before he can move on. Since he was smoking when he was attacked he’s still smoking now. At a couple of dramatic moments he flicks that ethereal ciggie away and moments later it’s back in his mouth again, eternally half-finished. Just like he’s stuck wearing that hat until it comes back into fashion, he’s stuck with that smoke, which is maybe a commentary on addiction or just a cool little detail in a game that’s full of them.

Here’s another one. It’s set in Salem, Massachusetts, the town still infamous for its witch trials of over 300 years ago. The locals must be as sick of everyone bringing them up as Australians are of convict jokes. Being a religious place, all Salem’s buildings are consecrated, meaning ghosts can’t cross the thresholds and Ronan has to wait for someone to open a door like a cat who wants to be let in. Many of the town’s old structures have left ghosts of themselves behind as well; you’ll see burning spectral ruins where an old house caught fire, or an overturned cart in the middle of the street. The consecrated walls and ghostly leftovers force you to be creative in crossing town from one crime scene to the next, and also happen to look great. The old Salem overlaps with the new like the scabs of history refusing to heal.


Review: Transistor


Platform: PC, PS4
Developer: Supergiant
Website: http://supergiantgames.com/index.php/transistor
Australian classification: Unrated

Plenty of games have kludged together the tactical depth of turn-based battles with the high-stakes immediacy of real-time fighting, letting you freeze combat to issue commands then watch things play out, maybe taking control of simple actions or just looking on till you need to take over again like an interfering theatre parent. Transistor, a new action RPG from the developers of Bastion, takes a similar approach: pause time to cue up some powers, watch them play out in a second of glorious bullet time, then run around like a headless chicken till your ability to freeze things refills.

You play Red, a singer who has lost her voice, as she travels across the city of Cloudbank towards a reckoning with the individuals who took it from her. The Transistor is both weapon and companion, a high-tech sword/artificial intelligence/soul-storage device/all-purpose problem solving tool, guiding and advising you as you cross the city. But a legion of robotic beings called The Process are in the midst of dismantling Cloudbank and you’ll have to fight through them to get both answers and revenge.


Review: Vertical Drop Heroes HD


Platform: PC
Developer: Nerdook
Website: http://nerdook-productions.com
Australian classification: Unrated

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is a fancied-up remake of a browser game you can play online at Kongregate (hence the HD), which is about adventurers exploring dungeons by jumping ever downwards from platform to platform (hence the vertical drop). It’s not so much a dungeon crawler as a dungeon faller. Nobody’s called a game about exploring a dungeon from the traditional left to right Horizontal Walk Heroes, so I guess that’s still up for grabs.

You start by picking one of three randomly generated heroes, each with different special abilities, weapons, and names, meaning you might be choosing from the mighty Hellspike, Skybane, or… Owlguard. Their appearances are random as well: big, boofy cartoon heads topped by helmets, hoods, masks, or flowers. If you don’t want to play a flower-wearing hero named Owlguard I don’t know what’s wrong with you.


Review: Sir, You Are Being Hunted


Platform: PC
Developer: Big Robot
Website: http://www.big-robot.com/2012/03/12/sir-you-are-being-hunted
Australian rating: Unrated

The robots in Sir, You Are Being Hunted are more English than tea and racism. They wear tweed coats and top hats, smoke pipes, stalk about on the moors shooting pheasants, talk endlessly about the weather in their whirr-buzz-click robot voices – they’re like characters from Sherlock Holmes made out of brass.

Oh, and they want to kill you.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a game of stealth and survival in which you’re stranded on a string of islands with very little to protect yourself, and must gather fragments of scattered scientific equipment to rebuild a teleporter so you can get the hell away. Between you and those fragments are packs of robot gentlemen and their robot dogs, forcing you to crouch in long grass and behind hedges to evade their shining red eyes whenever a hunting party approaches.

You spend a lot of time in this game toggling in and out of crouch mode. Sir, your thighs are getting a heck of a workout.