Single Player

Dicey Dungeon

First Impressions: My initial reaction is that I could see myself playing this game for a while. I am a big fan of RPG’s and probability games, and this seems like a winner. It incorporates a ton of player choice, especially playing the witch class. multiple spells and dice combinations with different effects. I played the thief initially but it seemed a little stale, the witch is much more engaging. 

Alto's Odyssey

First Impressions: Very simple mechanics to this game, just tap the screen, or tap and hold to continue to rotate your character mid-air. Once again, like my review for Monument Valley, this is a great example of simple done well. Hitting combos and earning points to purchase upgrades in the store feels like you are doing more than timing jumps. 

This is a very good game for anyone looking to pass the time and zone out for a bit. It even has a “zen mode” where there is no score, or deaths, just endless mode for fun.

Going Further:

Monument Valley

First Impressions: This is a mobile game that I would put in the puzzle/platformer genre. It cleverly uses perspective to create the puzzles. You only need to tap the screen where you want to move, and tap and drag to manipulate the world. Think of a more aesthetically pleasing Fez combined with a Penrose stairs Escher painting. The combination of interactive sound fx and peaceful ambiance is very soothing. For backstory, all that you know in the beginning is that you are some kind of princess. Every beginning level does a great job of introducing mechanics.

Papers Please

First Impressions: In Papers, Please, the player plays as a border inspector, making sure that people who want to enter the country present the legal documents necessary. The primary resource that the player cares about is credits, which is used to pay rent, food, heating, and other living expenses. The player earns credits based on how many people are correctly processed, which encourages going fast. However, there is punishment for making an incorrect decision, which prevents players from getting careless. 

Return of the Obra Dinn

First Impressions: This game is set in a first-person environment. The progression of the game makes it feel like a mystery/puzzle game, since the players needs to piece together all the mysteries of the Obra Dinn’s history. The Obra Dinn is a ship that from what I understand came back after being lost for a long time. There is interesting history of the ship, and someone has started writing a book to explore the ship’s mysteries.

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

First Impressions: This game at first glance is a life simulator, where you the player needs to balance making money, eating, sleeping, staying healthy, and progressing with the story (spying on “monkeys”). Resources are limited - actions take in-game time, food and rent cost money, and you must spend money in a certain amount of time to progress with the game, or lose. Health is a tradeoff to be made by eating junk food. Junk food significantly increases your fullness bar compared to healthy foods, which cost more and don’t aid with hunger as much. 

Papers Please

First Impressions: In this game you are a laborer working at a check point trying to maintain a harsh living! When I first played this game, I wasn’t impressed with the art work. However, the background and the whole environment was a setting which I did not find in most games. The game starts by explaining the character’s situation. The main character works at a check point in a country called Arstotzka. The main character wins what is called a labor lottery ticket.

Her Story

First Impressions: When I started this game, I was playing as a detective solving a homicide case. I was controlling a police department computer looking at video interrogation footage. The art design wasn’t fancy but the acting in the video was very convincing and this is what kept me continue playing. There were ambient light bulb sounds which gave a glow to the computer screen in the game. This reflected a game image of myself which was creepy but also brought up my curiosity.

Wheels of Aurelia 1978

First Impressions: When I first saw the trailer for this game in class, I was interested, even if it was mainly to listen to the Italian soundtrack. Even though the trailer was enough to pique my interest, it didn't do enough to explain the depth of the game.

Nth Dimensional Hiking

First Impressions: I’ve never had a game make me feel so stupid in just fifteen minutes. Nth Dimensional Hiking didn't actually make me feel stupid, but it’s immediately clear that I’m missing something major when, in fifteen minutes, I can’t get any further than the platform that is the starting point.