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Reviews: Yousei, Sherbert Thieves , Actual Sunlight,

Yousei develops the series of murder mystery games to a brilliant new height. With stunning presentation and a deep story, this is one of the best murder mystery games out there. 

I’m fairly against stories that involve solving murder. Why? Because literally everyone I know (except myself) is obsessed with murder mysteries. From Lewis to Prime Suspect, I never stop hearing about murder. Sigh.

But I’m going to put my personal feelings aside with this review of Yousei for a couple reasons. 1) Yousei aint exactly Poirot, 2) it’s in cutesty Japanese style animation 3) it’s pretty darned good.

Yousei: The Third Investigation Review

Being the third in the series, Yousei begins where its predecessor left off. Kangai is a hero who has the disturbing ability to relive the final moments of a person’s life by touching them. Kangai is suspect in two crimes as he teams with Aki, Naoki and Li Mei (also psychics) to investigate scenes at a university. It al goes pear shaped and they end up getting involved in another murder.

So much death. So little time. . .

The gameplay of Yousei is point-and-click combined with a simple and intuitive menus system. There’s a hint system which works via cell phone. There’s also a map to help you to find your way through large areas.  This all makes for a game that is easy to play.

Everything about this third instalment is an improvement from the previous game. The score waves gracefully from mood to mood. The art holds amazing attention to detail, the body language of the character helps to lift their personalities. . . all in all, this is a brilliantly presented game. What’s more, even the voice acting is good.  All actors provide solid and believable performances that add an important dimension to the characters.

Brilliant presentation, but what about the story itself? It’s deep, there’s a compelling amount of character development. There are different possible endings. . .it’s everything you could ask for.

So, yeah, I’m giving this game one out of five. NOT! I’m giving Yousei a massive 4.5 out of 5. Head over to the developers site for more of this great game. 

My last experience with moonshine involved drinking way too much of it and throwing up in a restraint in front of my girlfriend’s dad. Did my experience with Sherbert Thieves – Moonshine Edition fair any better?

The set-up of the game is simple. Alien critters have stolen your moonshine and you have to stop them. Yes, this is an unabashed shooter that wear its quirky charm on its sleave. There are splatting tomatoes, cows that shoot ray guns and space hippies. It’s a cheesy game, but that doesn’t mean its not a good game.

Your mission is to protect the moonshine. To do so you’ll have to fight off a bunch of aliens that spawn all over the place. The more moonshine the lose the closer you get to failure.  You’ll also have to protect yourself and prevent your health bar from reaching zero.

The game does suffer from a lack of balancing. There are an absolute ton of health pick-ups available, meaning you can act like a kamikaze stormtrooper and leap right into a bunch of aliens without worrying about your health. this greatly lessens the game’s challenge and is a shame. I’d rather have died a load in order to learn decent strategy than to not have to worry about either.

Probably the best part of Sherbert Thieves – Moonshine Edition is the Endless modes. It’s here that you’ll find the most challenge as you try to protect both yourself and your moonshine for as long as you can. In Endless mode, you get to experience both the quality gameplay and a lot of challenge. It’s also pretty addictive. I found myself always wanting to last a little longer (. .  .there’s a sex joke in there somewhere. .  .)

So, all in all, Sherbert Thieves—Moonshine Edition is better than my previous experience with moonshine. A lot better. It’s a hilariously fun game that’s packed full of quirk and charm. It might not be perfect, but you’ll definitely have a laugh with this game.

OVERLALL: 3.5 out of 5.

Actual Sunlight is a deep and disturbing interactive fiction that will evoke strong emotions in the player. 

The vast majority of games show as much eloquence in expressing complex themes and ideas as a blind pig does on ice skates. . . that’s not much, by the way.

Every so often, however, a game comes along that genuinely strives to communicate important ideas with grace and style. It’s thanks to these games that the industry has gone from mindless stories about manic miners to stories that (at least sometimes) offer genuine character development in believable worlds, rife with intellectual and culturally / socially relevant themes.

Games may still be pretty immature, but at least they’re heading in the right direction.

Speaking of the right direction, one game that clearly propels gaming down the path of maturity is Actual Sunlight, a piece of interactive fiction designed by Will O’Neill, which covers such themes as loneliness and depression.

In Actual Sunlight you place Evan Winter, a man suffering from depression and with absolutely no self worth. As the game develops, you discover more about Evan Winter through journals and psychiatric transcripts. In fact, you’ll practically drown in the story. You’ll be continually reading text after text. For those who love a deep story that can only be a good thing, though you may be left wishing for more player interaction.

Call Actual Sunlight a work of art or not, however you like, but what is absolutely beyond question is that Actual Sunlight is an emotionally stirring game. Evan’s character is incredibly deep and believable. Through him, your view of life may be challenged (an accomplishment which in itself is the diadem of art).  This is more than a game; it’s a meditation on life. It’s effect is more than that of a game too. You will be much more emotionally invested in Actual Sunlight that the vast majority of other games.

Finding an overall review score for Actual Sunlight is a challenge. On the one hand, it is a gripping, deep and meaningful piece of fiction. On the other, it’s a very minimal game.

As I’m drawn to art that dwells indulgently on human suffering, I’m going to have to go in favour of Actual Sunlight and give 4 out of 5.

 Indie gaming is in bloom. What a great thing that is. These days, you’re more likely to find top notch gameplay from an indie game that a developer sold their nan to make, than from a AAA title with as much financial backing as Hugh Hefner sponsored breast implants.

What?

Yeah, dunno, sorry, went off on a tangent there.

Anyway, it’s not  just the games that have made indie gaming so good. Many fine “Role Model” websites have been instrumental in helping to build the indie gaming scene.  It’s to these websites we look now as we present the “A Role Model” award for best indie game websites.

 The “A Role Model” Top 60 Indie Game Wesbsites for 2013

WINNER? Show off your unquestionable brilliance with the ARoleModel WINNERS badge.
LINK: <a href=”http://arolemodel.com/?p=44552″><img alt=”ARoleModel-Indie-Game-Websites-Award” src=”http://arolemodel.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ARoleModel-Indie-Game-Websites-Award-300×283.jpg” width=”300″ height=”283″ /></a>

  1. The Indie Game Magazine
  2. Jay Is Games
  3. Rock Paper Shotgun
  4. Indie Games The Weblog
  5. Hookshotinc
  6. Indie DB
  7. TIGSource
  8. Indie Love
  9. Indie N
  10. Play This Thing
  11. RGCD
  12. Gnomes Lair
  13. Extra Guy
  14. Penny Arcade
  15. OW VideoGames
  16. Greenlight Picks
  17. Indie Games Searchlight
  18. Indie Impressions 
  19. Indie Shmups
  20. Screenshot Saturday
  21. Pixels For Breakfast
  22. Twinfinite
  23. FreeIndieGam.es
  24. Respavvn
  25. Buy Some Indie Games!
  26. Game Jolt
  27. Square Tetromino
  28. Crude Pixel
  29. IndieGameReviewer
  30. Indie Game Bundles
  31. Indie Theory
  32. TheIndieJar
  33. True PC Gaming
  34. Quotes Unquote
  35. Armless Octopus
  36. Indie Retro News
  37. Quarter To Three
  38. Indiegraph
  39. Indie Games Channel
  40. Screenshot Saturday
  41. The Daily Click
  42. Indie Gamers
  43. I-Luv-Games
  44. Games for Gamers
  45. Fessic’s Favorite Free Video Games
  46. Harry Balls
  47. 10 Dollar Gaming
  48. GameBlaster64
  49. indiePub Games
  50. Erratic Gamer
  51. the2bears
  52. Free Gamer
  53. Joystiq (Indie Pitch)
  54. One Video Game a Day
  55. PDRoms – Homebrew For You
  56. Bytten
  57. IndieRPGs
  58. Out Of Eight PC Game Reviews
  59. Kurt Waldowski’s Indie Recap
  60. Indie Game Pod

Paul M Harrison

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

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