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Jack Septic Eye in The Evie Agenda Jack Septic Eye in The Evie Agenda

Rated 0.5 / 5 stars

You can't just say "It's like some other game nobody's ever heard of." I'll bet that other game actually said what the goal of the game was, or at least taunted you with deliberately misleading clues in order to mess with the player's head while they figured it out. Your game just tells the player nothing.

Sometimes moving kills me, other times it doesn't kill me. Sometimes I can collect eyes, other times they kill me. The orange thing (switch?) on the left always kills me. # of steps doesn't seem to kill me. Usually. I'm not sure. Sometimes white X's appear. What are they? Why should I care? The game doesn't tell you.

You know what? I'm going to go out on a limb here and presuppose that the core gameplay of Don't Move involves, you know, not moving, at least part of the time. But see, at least the developers of Don't Move had the common sense to put that hint directly in the title of the game. Yeah, the words "Don't Move" appear in the description of your game, but that doesn't have the same psychological impact as the title of the game.

All of this is a moot point because all you did was slap some RPG Maker sprites together, steal the gameplay from some indie game that was probably really novel when it first came out, slap a youtuber's name on it to piggyback on their popularity, and do you want to know what the worst part is? Aside from the graphics, this game has nothing to do with JackSepticEye or Evie. You could have ripped voice samples from the show and had them saying hillarious things while Jack dies over and over again, or you could have put some kinda story into the GAMEPLAY like you'd expect out of an actual RPG Maker game. But you didn't bother with any of that.

The most frustrating part about this is I know you put time and effort into making this. But the end result is just so much less than the sum of its parts. No, you know what? Take those parts, and start over. I know you can do better. Make something meaningful. Make their personalities really explode out of every aspect of the game. Not just a comic panel on the title screen for five seconds. Build a fitting tribute to Jack and Evie. I know you can do it. You have the coding all figured out. Now work on the purpose, the narrative, the meaning behind the game.

Build a goddamned experience.

Good luck.


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Back in the day Back in the day

Rated 1.5 / 5 stars

There's so much I don't understand about this game. First of all, it's impossible to tell what some of the tiny pixel art icons are supposed to be. I thought the stop sign was a crystal orb of some sort, for example. Second of all, after using the stop sign, I still had no idea what it was or why it worked. "Why would doing nothing be the answer?" "oh it's a STOP SIGN. I dunno. It worked the first time, didn't it?"

Secondly, the game relies too heavily upon cheap deaths and restarting to pad out the length of the experience. You can't even click on the right answer when you know what it is, because the placement of the right answer is always random.

The wrong answers are also random, which shoots any challenge in the foot, since all you have to do on the second attempt is click whichever one's still there. It's like they designed the game to be both confusing and exploitable.

Finally you get to the end and clicking a new icon (which doesn't look like ANYTHING) kills you and makes you start over. No. Just no. Total ragequit moment. I'm not going through all that bullshit again just so I can see what the two things that weren't cheap deaths do after the reminiscence.

In short, this game perfectly captures the essence of non-Sierra western point & click Adventure Games. By which I mean, it's confusing, random, the puzzles have stupid moon logic solutions, you'll die arbitrarily for no good reason, and you have to just randomly rub everything in the world until you're rewarded with progress.

1.5 stars for the effort and skill that went into detailing the old man's house, but low-rez pixel art should not be combined with a cutting-edge textless interface. There's a reason oldschool adventure games used text long after text-parsers went out of style. Text removes all ambiguity about what clicking a certain option will do. (At least in the mind of the protagonist.)

Also, there's a reason McPixel let you restart so quickly after dying! Watch the Extra Credits episode When Difficult Is Fun, it goes into it better than I possibly could here. And better luck with your next game.


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Monument Monument

Rated 0.5 / 5 stars

Literally 2 frames per second on my macbook. Based on my own experiments with Unity, I am sure it's fillrate-limited. Optimization would involve using simpler shaders, a smaller screen size, or both.

Mouse movement feels extremely limited if I use my actual mouse. Using a laptop's mousepad felt more natural-- a single swipe resulted in about 8x the speed of using my mouse to perform a similar swipe. I recommend adding a mouse sensitivity slider that can go down to 10% and up to 1000% to accommodate different users on different setups. This should be on a menu available with one click from the pause screen as well as the title screen.

Once I managed to pick up some shotgun shells, I walked forward into the left-hand door and turned left. It was dark so I instinctively pressed F to try and turn on my Flashlight. Nothing happened but I started taking damage. I based into the shotgun room and saw that there were two black monsters on a black background killing me. Pressed fire several times but the shotgun only fired once. Not sure which kind of lag was responsible for this death.

Overall, the game felt unplayable on my computer. If you won't optimize the graphics, how about some recommended system stats?

Note: I can play FPSes, including Unity FPSes, on this computer. I just can't play this one.



CookieClickerJam2014 CookieClickerJam2014

Rated 0 / 5 stars

The game doesn't tell you what you need in order to buy an upgrade. It says c50, I have 150 cookies, I click 2, nothing happens. Tell your players what they need when they need it. That's just basic game design 101.

So we have a sub-par clone of cookie clicker, no ability to deviate from the per-ordained build order and no explanation of what that required build order actually is. The author didn't even bother to name it something original.

romdtb needs to learn a thing or two from Cosmic Clicks, Don't Move, or even Idle Farmer. There have been much better games in the genre featured here on Newgrounds in the past month, and this game isn't even as good as Cookie Clicker despite ripping off everything in it.

And finally, saying "it's for a game jam, guys" is no excuse. Stop saying it like it's some kind of justification. A game made for a game jam still needs to be fun, and a game made for a game jam still needs to be novel. This game is neither. It makes Stencyl look bad in comparison to HTML5, a free language, because that's what ACTUAL Cookie Clicker runs on.

I award you no points. And I can't imagine the judges reacting any differently.


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noOS noOS

Rated 2 / 5 stars

Sorry, dude. I just can't do it. 12 seconds per sentence is just too damn long to wait for pointless exposition. Either get to the bloody point or, ideally, give me a button I can press to advance the dialogue. I wanted to get into this game but the conversation with the Quantum Field Harvester just made me feel like my time was being wasted. Did not finish. 2 stars for ambiance and originality.


Kouboooo responds:

You can left-clic in the scene to skip the dialogs... :(


Highgrounds Highgrounds

Rated 3 / 5 stars

Pay-to-win is a cancer on the face of gaming, okay? Let's just get that rant out of the way up front. The day pay-to-win gambling games like Magic: The Gathering become a more reliable source of income than other genres of game is the day we lose everything we as gamers hold dear, handing over the keys of the kingdom to (slightly more) cynical marketeers who only care about sucking dry the 1% of human beings who live to spend money on conspicuous bullshit like booster packs and food spiked with inedible flavorless flakes of gold foil.

Having said that, this one actually has some gameplay in it, I guess. You can use that in an ad if you want to. " '- Actually has some gameplay in it, I guess,' - a core gamer." From building your deck to managing your income to choosing what to buy this turn, the game is constantly presenting the player with strategic, tactical, and immediate choices.

Unfortunately, after building up this strategic element, the game procedes to sabotage itself by making it impossible to actually use units you have fielded to solve problems. I got as far as the Wizards before I figured out that there's no actual way to counter anything what needs countering. The game "helpfully" advises me that I need to Wound units that can Bolt, but this advice is meaningless because the enemy gets to move its units after I have moved mine but before combat resolves. It doesn't matter if I own a unit that can Wound in the right place or not because the enemy will always move its bolters away from that unit and counter with a defensive unit.

Extrapolate this out to every other strategic scenario, and you'll see that nothing can ever reliably counter anything, unless you field an army that's all the same type of unit. (So it's like every other deck-building game in that regard.) Combine this with a two-tiered premium currency system, unreasonably slow server response times even if you're playing single-player with no login, and apparent lack of a Trainer, and you've got a nasty, spiky moneypit that doesn't even pretend to value the player's time or skill.

Is it a sad testament to the state of the games industry that this is not the most cynical wallet-emptying game I've seen this year. It's not even within the top ten. There's another quote for you. " '...not even within the top ten (most cynical wallet-emptying games I've seen this year) - a consumer' " Man, that's a great quote! It should play well on Gamasutra. I'm handing you gold, here. Just think of all the whales you could gut with a hook like that. I'm not surprised that deck-builders get critical acclaim these days, I'm just surprised that they have the gaul to market it on a free browser game portal like Newgrounds.

I could maybe see it if it was something like ROBOKILL or Creeper World that actually offers the player a legitimate gameplay experience, then I could see it. But this 'freemium' pay-to-win shit? That shit needs to go back to dying a slow death on mobile devices. PC gamers don't want it or need it. Broke gamers can't afford it. And no amount of box quotes from AAA reviewers is going to help you get blood out of a stone.

Three stars for graphics, stability, and obvious polish. But why the hell does this need to be on Newgrounds, of all places!?


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spryfox responds:

With all due respect, we are practically killing ourselves trying to make a CCG that is *not* pay-to-win. We get crapped on by publishers who tell us this game will never succeed because uncommon units are just as powerful and useful as rare units. You saw booster packs in the game and got defeated by a single player mission and immediately assumed the worst. Please understand that this sort of thing is incredibly discouraging to the few indie developers like us who are trying to find a way to make the games we love, still give them away for free, and somehow eke out a modest living. Highgrounds is by no means a moneymaker. It doesn't even pay our bills.

Please don't take any of this the wrong way. We understand why people get so enraged by free-to-play games. Many f2p games are awful. But some of us are trying to do better.

Highgrounds is a very challenging game that requires a lot of skill and practice. The computer will kick your butt until you really internalize how to play. Veteran human players will kick your butt WAY worse. A large percentage of those veterans have not spent a dime and never will. And we're totally cool with that. (Pro-tip: if you want to succeed in multiplayer without spending money, make sure you complete the single player campaign. You get many free powerful units as reward for doing so.)

For anyone who is willing not to immediately jump to conclusions, please know that we're doing our best to be more like League of Legends and Team Fortress than the mountain of skeezy CCGs out there. We are trying to make a game of skill in which you pay for variety, not for an unfair advantage. And we have a pretty solid track record, having worked on two games, Triple Town and Realm of the Mad God, that have been widely praised for NOT being obnoxious pay-to-win games. (Note, we stopped working on Realm of the Mad God back in 2012, when Kabam took it over, and we've had nothing to do with how it has changed since then.)

You can read more about Highgrounds, and how to succeed in it, here: http://spryfox.com/forums/topic/introduction-to-highgrounds-faq/


Free Fred Free Fred

Rated 3 / 5 stars

There's an art to making an upgrade game. You want the player to feel as though they have multiple viable paths to victory, but that their choices matter.

Ideally, this is achieved not by perfectly balancing all the different upgrades, but by making each upgrade situational. Whether it's Cookier Clicker, Burrito Bison, or ROBOKILL, you want the player to be constantly discovering new and clever ways of stretching their resources... of tweaking things so that they can draw juuuuuuust a little bit more power out of their arsenal, and occasionally discovering game-breakers that make them feel smart.

None of this ever happens in Free Fred, and it all stems from the decision to make it a 2D game in which the player is completely immobile.

You can't move left or right to dodge bombs. You can't jump or otherwise avoid damage. This means that it's basically a stationary player-controlled turret defense game... except that instead of surviving nights or beating levels, the game is structured as one long level. This means you need to fail and fail and fail over and over again in order to succeed. There is no progress, other than monetarily. You just start the level over again from the beginning.

In a sense, side-view perspective gives the combat in Free Fred slightly more variety than a typical top-down player-controlled turret game. The enemies approach by sea and sky, and your upgrade paths include dedicated "lane coverage" for one or both of these. In theory, you could upgrade either Torpedoes or Homing Missiles to lock down one of those lanes, allowing you to focus on the other with your turrets.

In practice, however, homing missiles are too slow to actually do anything when the screen starts to fill with fast-moving helicopters, and the sea is completely linear in a side-scroller, so it quickly becomes a huge mass of overlapping battleships and various flavors of sea mines. In other words, the homing missiles typically either don't hit anything, or else waste a lot of your time and then hit a random target, while the torpedoes just do extra damage to whatever's queued up in the sea lane.

A skilled player will take no damage at all, until he hits the point in the game where more upgrades are needed, and then he will start taking very heavy damage very quickly. Once you unlock the third ship, the medic helicopter provides a false sense of security. It won't last. You still recognize the wall when you hit it. The only way to make it through is to hammer the enemy with overwhelming firepower, and this is generally only possible once you have near max upgrades.

I was able to beat the game with all but one HP upgrades, zero homing missile upgrades, and everything else maxed. Then I maxed out the homing missiles, just to see what they do. They remain awkward, slow, and clumsy, frequently swerving to avoid new enemies and taking down enemies up to 30 seconds after I would have with the turret. Target prioritization also makes no sense-- they sure don't lock onto whatever heat signature's the closest, the way homing missiles would in real life.

And speaking of homing missiles, why can't I shoot these fuckers down? I wouldn't mind, except that some battleships and submarines fire homing missiles that you NEED to shoot down, and they're identical in shape and behavior to the ones you can't shoot down.

Coding is well-done, with no slow-downs, even when things got busy, and even after long gameplay sessions. Some gameplay design choices seem questionable, and the decision to inexplicably use the plot of Free Willy as a franking device feels exploitative, hackneyed, and out-of-date, all at the same time. Graphics are okay. I would say I appreciate the Dr. Strangelove reference, but upon closer inspection of the guy riding the bomb, I doubt it was intentional.

3 out of 5 about covers it. I would have given it a 2, but the last boss did something new and slightly more complex, and I appreciate the solid stability of the coding. I suppose you probably can't expect much from a game whose only reason for existing is to make you go to a different website, but other, better upgradable turret games have taught us to expect better.


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ComicBookMovie ComicBookMovie

Rated 2 / 5 stars

An inferior knock-off of Death VS Monsters. Its biggest crimes are probably lousy sound design.

Aesthetics are a mess even though the individual art styles are all well-executed, because they made the thematic mistake of pairing C-64-era retro music with modern flash graphics. You can't hear it when you take a hit, can't hear enemies explode, can't hear anything at all really aside from the music and the most pitiful coin ding as3sfxr ever crapped out.

The story seems to be... uh... you're a bad person if you liked Avengers, I guess? That's all I could get out of the title screen. The lame theme spreads to the enemies, the power-ups, and the backgrounds, turning what could have been a fun romp into an abstract clash between two sides you don't care about.

Gameplay-wise, it's an okay Bullet Hell shooter with RPG grind. Mouse to move feels floating and imprecise, but the shots travel slow enough that I didn't usually feel unduly threatened. It was nice of them to point out the hitbox at the start of the game, though I would have prefered more precise keyboard controls. Also, if your Flash game uses the mouse, you ALWAYS store the previous frame's mouse position, check to see if the new mouse position is 0,0, and if it is, use the old mouse position. This prevents a common Flash bug where the player scrolls up and left if the mouse ever goes outside the fucking screen.

Progress feels slow and limited even though technically it probably isn't. I chalk this up to failure to telegraph progress. Overall the psychology of this game is very scattered and uninspired. It's almost as if somebody who doesn't speak English googled what was trending in America 6-12 months ago when this was in development and then built the game around that. I don't understand why they decided to take the piss out of the Avengers, though. It feels like a super-cynical move to include it in the first place, so why pick the side that you know 99% of gamers are going to be AGAINST? Unless they were talking about a typical (bad) superhero movie. But they don't specify that in the intro. They make it sound like a really great superhero movie. So I'm lost. Where did this creative decision come from.

Also, I have no idea what the phrase "Tin Foil Woman" actually means. Google Translate! For when native English sexism just isn't sexist enough! (tm)


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Hut Defense Hut Defense

Rated 3 / 5 stars

Hut Defense is a misleading name. Instead of defensive structures, the huts you build serve no purpose other than to spawn units and occasionally issue them orders. The game is actually a single-lane army swarm game. I didn't have the patience to grind much further past the Battle Axe unit (which is a shame because the crossbows are where moving back and forth starts to get interesting,) The problem is you can't replay levels you've already gotten three stars on, you need 5000 gold for the next unit (which the enemy army already HAS,) and if this pattern continues, dragons will be raping my army while I'm still struggling to unlock land units. And that's just gold. Forget about levelling up your units. Axeman is nearly obsolete and I'm only at 135/500? Yeah, no thanks.

Lack of levels and units are not the problem. The problem is that the developers want me to do an unreasonable amount of grinding just to unlock the units the game already has. In fact, it's not even grinding, near as I can tell. I just need to lose battles over and over again until I have enough coins to progress. No fucking thanks.

Why are "gold" and "coins" two separate resource types? I accidentally wasted coins on gold increase skills I never actually wanted. I wish there were a way to respec Skills. Oh, and don't be fooled. That treasure chest that gives you bonus coins in the early stages? Yeah, that goes away in the later stages. It feels as punishing as a pay-to-win game, except without any actual gold shop to make the pain stop. Just plain misguided, confusing, and bad all around.

I did like the monster designs, though..


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Cycle; Third Dream Cycle; Third Dream

Rated 1 / 5 stars

This is the most amazing Purgatory simulator I have ever played. I tried everything I could think of to make something interesting happen. I used my axe on the floorboards of my house, on my neighbor's house, on the Mayor. I bought a safe and tried to stuff it full of cash. I tried to buy a pink shirt with a star on it just because it was half off, then the damn game thought I was more overlapping the carpet next to the shirt, apparently, then the damn store kicked me out because night fell while I was fighting the menu. In a fit of desperation, I actually tried talking to the NPCs, even though I knew perfectly well that they're all vapid idiots with nothing to say. That's when I discovered that the fisherman will duplicate a function of the shopkeep, but only on Saundays? Uh. Thanks, I guess. I tried for 2 minutes to buy bait before I figured out that I was clicking on his name.

But the last straw had to be when I walked out of my house, saw row after row of fruit-laden trees. Waiting for me. Ten seconds of waiting each. I felt my soul die inside. I can't do this any more. It's just. So. BORING.

So basically it's like my Grepolis experience, but with an even shorter honeymoon period.

I only have one thing to say to 08jackt: Please stop wasting my time. Give me a reason to be here, a reason to care about these characters and this world, a non-cosmetic reason to care how much money I'm making. It can be anything at all. But for fuck's sake, put something noteworthy or precious or terrible or scary or amazing or awesome or fun IN THERE!

One star because mysterious footsteps in my house when I wake up scared the pants off of me and made me think the whole thing was about to go off the rails... until I realized it was just part of the background music and you'd probably have stripped it out of there if the sound design had actually been up to you, but you're just using whatever free sounds you could get ahold of, aren't you?

Bottom line: Minecraft minus everything you love about Minecraft. Glitch minus everything that made Glitch great. Hell, I've played FARMVILLE clones this week on Newgrounds that felt like they were giving me more gameplay for my time. Cow Clickers, Cookie Clickers, every kind of tedious time-waster mobile-like inexplicably focus-tested on the one website guaranteed to give them the worst possible reception, and a FEW of them managed to make me feel like I was being entertained for a few seconds at a time. Not this one. I would make a joke about it being a viscous cycle, but there's nothing viscous about it. It's a piece of cardboard in a tumble-drier on low heat.

The one nice thing I can say about it is it didn't slow down on my computer, despite using movieclips. But that's probably because nothing ever happens. Ever. Imagine my shock when I turned the quality down to Low and discovered it was this slow ON PURPOSE!


JackAstral responds:

Ahaha fair calls. Really the game is intended to be slow and peaceful- obviously it isn't for everyone xD

Thanks for the suggestions and criticisms though, I'll take note of them for future versions. It means a lot that you took the time to play and review it, despite not enjoying the game. Thanks for your time, hopefully I'll be able to work on some projects that are a little more exciting (and fun :b) to you in the future.