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Review: Run n Gun, A New Beginning, Nobile Nutlings, Stone Queen

Elephant Games’ Grim Tales: The Stone Queen begins in Stoneville. You’re set to meet your new nephew, but let’s face it, it wouldn’t be much of a story if you just met him and had a cup of tea. Instead, you discover a bunch of people being turned to stone by the Stone Queen (kinda like The Snow Queen but with stone). Your nephew is about to die. He’s covered in crystals. Your only chance at saving the day is to work out just what the heck is up with the Stone Queen.

So off you go. You choose your difficulty level and get set on your adventure. You’ll encounter a whole host of mini-games and hidden object scenes, from which you’ll collect items that will help you to discover what’s up with the Stone Queen and to sort her out.

It’s interesting that Elephant Games have chosen to focus on the villain in The Stone Queen rather than on the family. It’s a great twist on the storytelling that gives The Stone Queen a unique feel while still allowing you to get to know the main family.

 

 The scenes in The Stone Queen are presented beautifully, with wonderful use of colour and light that creates a truly magical atmosphere.

Creatures will aid you in your quest and others will detain you; this serves to add a sense of magic and wonder to the tale. I loved the overall feel of The Stone Queen; it’s easily one of my favourite Grim titles.

You can get The Stone Queen collectors edition for $13.99, which comes with bonus content—an art gallery, strategy guide and more.

 

Overall: 4 out of 5 

Announced several years ago, we’ve been waiting a long time to play Daedalic Entertainment’s new game A New Beginning. Has it been worth the wait?

A New Beginning focuses on a subject prominent in all forms of media except for gaming: climate change. Yes, this is a game with a message, but that doesn’t stop it from being a lot of fun too.

A New Beginning is set in 2500 at a time when climate change has all but completely destroyed Earth. There are only a few survivors left, and they expect to be dead pretty soon too [it’s not a pretty picture, but then, neither’s climate change]. There’s now a solar eruption set to occur which will kill the survivors. The one hope left is to jump back to 2050 and try to change the course of time.

We’re introduced to Bent Svensson, a scientist in the present day. He isn’t exactly your typical hero kinda guy. He’s knackered from years of research into creating an alternative energy source with algae (to be fair you can see how that line of work might be a bummer), he’s emotionally shattered after his work ruined his family life, and he’s spending his time in a cabin lost among the mountain ranges of Norway.  He’s naturally dubious when Fay enters the scene and tells him that she’s from the future and that his algae research was right.

You play the role of Fay as she convinces Bent to listen to her. There’s some great nonlinear storytelling that is not only fun to play through but gets you deep into the story and its moralistic nature. Once you’ve got Bent onboard the real adventure begins.

Your mission in A new Beginning is a predictable one: convince the decision makers to listen to you and make them believe that Bent’s idea is the only way to save Earth.

You’ll meet your fair share of resistance on your way though. You’ll journey through several major locations, each of which consists of many scenes that will take you some time to thoroughly explore.

 

Possibly my favourite element of A New Beginning is its cast of characters. With Fay, you have a strong minded woman determined to do the right thing, while Bent provides cynicism. It’s a good contrast that creates dramatic tension and brings the story to life. There’s also Salvador, who is commander to Fay. He’s a tough man who will go to any means necessary to save humanity.  There are many great supporting characters too, each adding their own unique flavour.

Bringing the characters to life is some excellent voice acting. The characterisation the actors provide is truly believable and makes for some of the best acting work I’ve heard in games of late. Though Fay is monotone and fails to bring her script to life, the remainder of the cast provide great performances and help get you right into the heart of the story.

And then you come to the graphics. They’re spectacular. The backgrounds are hand-painted and are simply stunning. Colours and light create a deep sense of atmosphere. The locales are all unique and have their on individual artistic styles. There are even cool touches like a light switch growing darker when obstructed. Cutscenes are presented in a manner similar to a comic book. It’s a stylish touch that I personally really enjoyed. Oh, and last but not least, the character models are really well done and realistic, though perhaps they could have been more animated. Nevertheless, it’s clear that A New Beginning is a truly beautiful game.

While there are some technical issues to the game, they are really minor. The main point here is the story and the presentation, both of which are astounding.

If you’re looking for a deep story with brilliant characters and breathtaking production values, then A New Beginning is an absolute must.

 

OVERALL: 4 out of 5

Given that the Boomlagoon studio is made up of various member of the Angry Birds team, you’d rightly expect their new game Noble Nutlings to be a blinder. It might not have Angry Bird’s slingshot or it’s piggies, but what Noble Nutlings does have is the same cute / comedy graphics and brilliant gameplay that made Angry Birds the marvel it was.

Noble Nutlings is so irresistibly cute you’ll want to hug it

In Noble Nutlings you pilot squirrels through various landscape levels, collecting acorns and trying to make it safely through the stage. You can control the game using tilt and virtual buttons. The tilt controls are by far the most enjoyable, leaving you with buttons for boost and gas and direction control via tilting.

You’ll need to keep the squirrels upright through the level, which isn’t easy given the rollercoaster like design, loops, hills and TNT-fuelled jumps. Thankfully you get the opportunity to upgrade your vehicle before a stage, so you can improve your wheels, booster, chasis and more.  You’ll pay for these using coins that you can earn by collecting the acorns throughout the stages and by being a speed demon.

Noble Nutlings is a simple game, but an adorably cute and wonderfully playable one too. OVERALL: 4 out of 5

You will never guess what you’re going to be doing in Gaijin Entertainment’s Run ‘n’ Gun: you’re gonna be running, while gunning. Amazing. But is this game as freaking amazing as this introduction to said game’s review? Let’s take a look.

Rn ‘n’ Gun is a 3D endless runner which will remind many gamers of TempleRun. No, it’s not a particularly unique or original concept, but heck, it’s a concept that gamers love so provided it does things right it should make for some great gaming anyway.

You’re a typical meat-head who loves nothing more than deafening himself at the sound of bullets and blinding himself in his enemy’s blood. He does this in a steampunk fantasy world, through he runs, dodging left and right, jumping, ducking, kicking ass.

 

Run ‘n’ Gun stars this meat-head, whose dating profile reveals that he enjoys blowing s**t up and bathing in blood. Other than that he’s a perfectly reasonable gentleman, honest.

  

 

You control said meat-head by tilting the handset while swiping to duck or jump. Occassionally you’ll come across a sharp turn for which you need to swipe left or right.

 

You may have noticed that absolutely everything about this game so far has been conventional and hasn’t exactly pushed the standards.  The gunning is pretty standard too. Line yourself up with a hobgoblin and you’ll automatically shoot them, they’ll drop coins for you to collect.

I’ve been a bit negative about Run ‘n’ Gun so far, so let’s cover the good parts as this is actually a pretty solid endless runner.

I enjoyed the missions that you’re assigned by a barman. There are a load of different missions, like crashing into X number of objects, turning a sharp corner X number of times and so on. They add a decent amount of variety to the gameplay that helps keep things fresh. The game also controls really well. The graphics are crisp and sharp and provide an exciting atmosphere which matches the fast paced gameplay really well, helping to get your heart pumping.

 

The graphics in Run ‘n’ Gun are crisp and sharp and provide an exciting atmosphere which matches the fast paced gameplay really well, helping to get your heart pumping.

All in all, Run ‘n’ Gun is a solid endless runner, it’s just a shame that it does next to nothing to set itself apart. I’d like to see some more creativity and ingenuity from Gaijin Entertainment to match the solid production values. Then we might end up with something truly great.

OVERALL : 3.5 out of 5 

Paul M Harrison

Professional esports commentator and freelance games journalist. Basically, gaming is my life. And I love it.

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