Tag Archives: the gaming adventure

The Grey and the Cold – Ashwalkers

I know this is out of alphabetical order, but I only completed Ashwalkers last night, so I didn’t want to write anything about it until I had managed to run through it to the end at least once.

This game I actually CHOSE to buy and download – it was on special on GoG at the time, and I loved the art style and choice-driven nature of the game. It is NOT my usual type of game either, but I have a soft spot for post-apocalyptic or dystopian stories and games, and the trailer and blurb about this game intrigued me.

Ashwalkers is a narrative-driven survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world. The world has been ravaged by a series of natural disasters, and the few remaining humans are forced to live in small, isolated communities. You play as a group of four survivors who are sent out from one of these communities in search of a new home.

The game starts with you choosing your characters for the mission, each with their own unique skills and abilities. Your Captain is quite important, as they hold the team together. You will then need to choose your supplies and prepare for your journey. The amount of supplies you are issued and can carry is limited. The world of Ashwalkers is incredibly harsh and unforgiving, and you will need to carefully manage your squad’s needs and your resources to survive.

Each character has their own unique skills and abilities, so choose the characters that best fit your playstyle. Gather as many supplies as possible before you set out on your journey. You will need food, water, and other supplies to survive. The world of Ashwalkers is full of dangerous creatures and dangerous people, so be prepared to fight for your survival, but also explore other responses to scenarios. Violence is not always the answer. There are always multiple choices. Explore the world. There are many hidden secrets and resources to be found. Take your time. Build camps OFTEN. I failed to do this, thinking it was not necessary, and I think that was a big reason for my final squad count.

Be patient. Ashwalkers is not your run-of-the-mill “choose your own adventure” game. Don’t give up!. Each playthrough provides so many learning experiences until you “succeed” and even that success may be different for each player.

The game is played from a top-down perspective, sort of… sometimes the camera shifts, and in certain areas it will be at an oblique angle. You will need to use the mouse to control your characters and the keyboard to interact with the environment. It’s not immediately intuitive, but since there are so few options for interaction, it’s really not difficult to pick it up. You will need to explore the world, gather resources, and build shelters to survive, and keep chugging along in the direction of your initial mission goal. You will also need to fight off dangerous creatures and bandits, or find ways to be diplomatic – and all your choices depend on the people in your squad.

This is a challenging game, but it is also rewarding and quickly gives you a “just one more chapter” kind of feeling, where you finish something (successfully or not) and want to keep going. The game is well-made and the graphics are gorgeous. The art shows a desolate world with strange inhabitants and places, and leftovers from lost cities and people. My only issue was that you cannot control the camera – and this means missing resources, getting “lost” behind walls/cliffs/etc, and missing paths. I suppose this all adds to your choices/decisions/path, and that adds to the possibilities.

The journey is long and dangerous, and your choices may even make it longer and even more dangerous! The landscape is barren, cold, empty, and definitely not on your side, and the squad must contend with extreme weather conditions, dangerous creatures, and difficult moral choices. Along the way, they will learn more about themselves and each other, and they will have to decide what it means to be human in a world that has been stripped of its humanity. Some of the decisions were relatively easy to make… others left me thinking seriously before clicking on my choice. This game will challenge you both mentally and emotionally. The choices you make, from where you shelter to what resources you decide on and who you feed and who rests and who is walking point for the quad, will impact everything that happens after each decision. There are multiple endings, and changing your squad selection truly makes a difference. Everything in this game is carefully thought out by the devs – there are no “just because” moments.

One of the biggest challenges in Ashwalkers is managing the characters’ resources. You need to keep track of the characters’ hunger, thirst, and warmth levels, and they must also make sure that they have enough food and water to survive. If the characters’ resources run low, they will start to suffer from negative effects, such as fatigue, illness, and even death.

Another challenge in Ashwalkers is navigating the dangerous world. The wasteland is filled with hazards, such as toxic gas, dangerous animals, and hostile humans.

Finally, it’s a game that is all about making difficult choices. You will be faced with a number of moral dilemmas throughout the game, and your choices will have a significant impact on the story and the characters’ fates. You must carefully consider the options and make the choices that you believe are best for the group. Or do what I did sometimes and just say “FOR SCIENCE!” and pick something randomly when you didn’t want to make a hard choice!

This game is definitely not for everyone – I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it. Players who are looking for a relaxing and easy game should look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a challenging and thought-provoking experience will find a lot to love in Ashwalkers.

A Weirdo Whammy Gaming Adventure Game

This is definitely one of the weirder games in my Gaming Adventure List.

This game is a rather odd, deeply disturbing, and definitely dark game called Bad Dream: Coma. This is from the Bad Dream series (Coma, Fever, and Stories) developed by Desert Fox. I also have Bad Dream: Fever, but if I am honest, I am not sure I will play that one. This game was not my cup of tea by a long shot – definitely not what I was expecting, if I even know what I was expecting.

According to the blurb on both Steam and GoG (I got my games on GoG, by the way) – Bad Dream: Coma is a point-and-click adventure game with a unique minimalistic art style. The game takes place in a surreal and disturbing dreamland where everything depends on your actions. You can’t die, but you can suffer greatly.

And suffer you do. The game starts out only slightly weird… you get told to sleep well, and the lights go off…

It only gets weirder and darker from there.

Just a word of warning – there are several ways to play through the game, and every time it’s slightly different, depending on your actions (right from the start!) and there are multiple endings.

Another set of warnings – First, the game’s art style is very minimalistic and almost “dirty” (in terms of cleanliness not sordidness) which can make the disturbing imagery even more jarring. Second, the game’s story is very dark and twisted, and it deals with some very heavy themes, such as death, loss, and mental illness. Third, the game’s gameplay can be incredibly frustrating at times, which can add to the overall sense of unease, as things will break or disappear or be used for something other than what they should be used for. I also didn’t like the underlying … violence? Not even sure that’s the word I want here, but it’s a strange undercurrent, and I really found it unsettling.

The game is divided into four chapters, each of which is a different dream. In each chapter, you come across strange and disturbing characters and situations. This is not a hand-holding game. You will definitely need to have your wits about you, and think outside the box, or, in same cases, incredibly literally. Every “scene” has multiple puzzles, and some can only be solved by solving another from a different scene, using items you got by solving another puzzle in another scene. My TBI-brain struggled sometimes with holding on to multiple “thoughts” and steps at once (do this to get this, but do this first to get this to get that, to go back and finish that first one) but I’m sure it would be simple for anyone who can multitask.

Each chapter is represented by a different color: red, green, blue, and black. The color of each chapter represents the different emotions that you will experience during that dream. The game is full of symbolism and hidden meanings. The game is designed to make you think about your own dreams and your own subconscious. Clearly, this is not something I was very comfortable with, and the intended “uneasy” feeling definitely hovered over me the whole way through, and with each try.

What I worked out by playing is that you are a patient in a coma, and you are experiencing a series of disturbing dreams. The dreams are all interconnected, and they all represent different aspects of your subconscious. I’m not sure if these are a reflection of what is going on in the waking world, or just something that’s crept into your mind due to being in the coma.

I played through the game 5 or 6 times, reaching various stages in each play through. On my first play through… I lost my fingers on my right hand… so I cut someone else’s off and glued them to my own hand. That was probably the moment when I thought, “eh, I don’t know if I want to play this game anymore…”

The game is full of surprises and twists, and each scene is designed to make you feel uncomfortable and uneasy, and it definitely worked. If you are looking for a challenging and thought-provoking game, with a very dark, disturbing theme and style, then I would definitely recommend giving Bad Dream: Coma a try.

Bad Dream: Coma is a unique and unforgettable experience – and not necessarily in a good way. It is a game that will stay with you long after you finish playing it. Like the bad taste in your mouth from a bad apple, or an overripe orange. *wrinkles nose*

Go Ask Alice, When She’s 10 Feet Tall

So, here we were on our Gaming Adventure, and along came Alice: Madness Returns. I have not played the first Alice game, but this was next on my list, and that was the deal!

Just going to say, first off, that this game was VERY much outside my wheelhouse and/or comfort zone. I’ve not played anything like this that I can remember – puzzles and jumping and dodging and timing and dying… DYING so many times! I do not play “souls” games or “roguelike” games – I do not have the patience or tenacity for them! That being said, this game is so beautiful, darkly humorous, twisted, and a little bit silly (looking at YOU, Rabbit, and those SILLY teapots!) that the endless dying and “let’s try that again” made it fun/interesting enough for me to keep going to the end.

The story is also dark, twisted, but fascinating, and I kept going to learn more about poor Alice’s past. The memories were bittersweet, sad, and showed a broken and very interesting arc for young Alice. I am not sure how many of them were recalls to the previous game, but it didn’t matter, as the story was so well told that I could keep up easily with the story in this game.

The covering of mental health issues, deeply disturbing moments, and overall strangeness made the game quite complex, despite the apparently first-look appearance of “just another puzzle game” which you may think when you watch a few minutes of game play.

It’s not a “new game” by any means, and the graphics are not AAA game level, but they are gorgeous enough to make the game just beautiful to look at while you dodge hot tea, black blobs, and strange shadows with doll heads. I was thoroughly entranced and entertained.

I won’t show too many more shots from the game, as they definitely give spoilers, and that’s something I try not to do in these Gaming Adventure reviews.

I will say, though, that if you go into this game with no knowledge of the previous game, and an open mind, you will thoroughly enjoy it.

I certainly did!

And the whole time I played, I had Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” going around in my head, often humming it aloud.

Go ask Alice… when she’s 10 feet tall!

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare – Deja vu all over again

I’ve never played an “Alan Wake” game before, and I’d never heard of the character or the world prior to getting this game (As part of a Humble Bundle) about 3 years ago. I installed it back then, played about an hour of it, couldn’t get the hang of it at ALL, so I uninstalled it and promised to return at some point, but never did… UNTIL Spoopytober 2022. It was next in my Gaming Adventure anyway, and I thought it was an appropriate game for the Spooky season.

I am proud to say that I finally completed it! As usual, I am not going to go into TOO much depth, so as to avoid spoilers, but I am going to attempt to give a nice vague and all-encompassing short discussion about it, but more importantly about _my_ experience of the game.

To start, the introduction is quite “gentle” and leads you into the mechanics of the gameplay, the interface, and the limitations of Mr. Alan Wake. There are a few callbacks, apparently, to the other games, and I missed these, of course, unless they were shoved right in my face and mentioned by the “narrator” of the game. However, after this “gentle” introduction, it really starts to get wild, interesting, puzzling, and PRETTY DARN SCARY! The number of times I jumped IRL thanks to being snuck up on by the rather creepy “enemies” in the game… I lost count!

The world is quite empty, but you do meet a couple of people (mostly women… hmm) who help you in their own way, and the story progresses. The first time you loop (and I won’t go into that, because I don’t want it spoiled) I was actually a little disappointed! I thought, “All that work, and now I’m here!” but it made sense. As the story progresses, the weird objects you need to find and the strange conversations you have to have with the same people, but with subtle differences, seem to slide into place.

The puzzles are sometimes super simple, sometimes quite complex, and I found the “help” was not always particularly helpful, or the instructions were a little vague, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

Then you meet your nemesis, and that guy made me incredibly uncomfortable – and that’s not something that happens very often – so that’s a testament to the writing, voice acting, and animations/cut scenes. This guy CREEPED me out no end. Every time you had to interact with him in some way I will admit I kinda rushed it and clicked through as fast as I could! And he just gets worse as you progress – so that’s both interesting and disconcerting.

Maybe because “he” is also “you” but the darkest, cruelest, most depraved parts of you? I’ve never been comfortable playing the “bad guy” in games. I always end up playing the good guy, the reluctant hero, the thief with the heart of gold, the thug who changes his ways. Every character I play, unless absolutely set in the story and unchangeable, will evolve into an upstanding citizen, whether I like it or not!

Moving on!

While this game is a little older, the graphics (in-game and cut scenes) are pretty darn good! The atmosphere is very noir detective, but with elements of combat, puzzle, decision making conversations and interactions, and lots and lots of running…

The narration creates a very 1940’s detective novel feeling, and if that’s your jam, you’re in for a good time. There’s a little wry, dark humour involved, but it never takes you out of the story. As I mentioned above, the writing is excellent. I only rolled my eyes once in the game when you interact with a certain character, and the dialogue options were a bit “Oh, seriously?” for me. But other than that, the story, the interactions, the narration, it all adds to a full experience and immersion.

Once I got the hang of the interface, the action, the story, and the ultimate goal of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m glad I played it, finished it, and I can tick it off on my Gaming Adventure list.

*sips whiskey* *adjusts trench coat* *puts feet up on the desk in the dark office*

So, Mr. Wake, we meet again. And again. And yet again.

AER Memories of Old

Checked my list, and this game was next. I’ve had the game in my library for some time, just never got around to playing it (as is the case with most of the games on my list, thus the Gaming Adventure!) as I knew it would require a focus that I felt I didn’t have at the time.

Of course, it being next on the list meant that I had to step up and just ignore my perfectionist tendencies and play the game.

From the first moment, this game grabbed my attention. You really have to look and pay attention – for clues, for messages, for where to go next.

In my adventures, I met some beautiful creatures (taking a little bit of a few cultures’ myths and legends, but adding a hefty dose of their own story to the mix) and the memories (thus the name) of people long gone.

And you fly, my friend… you FLY! It is exhilarating! The flight mechanic is smooth, easy, and I just wanted to spend all my time aloft. It was so relaxing and soothing that I honestly spent more time flying than I probably should have. The sound of it, and the “feel” of it, and the way your wings flex and twist… it’s GORGEOUS! Probably one of the best flying animations/mechanics that I have ever seen for “nature-based” creatures. I was entranced.

I was thoroughly enjoying the story, really getting to grips with the puzzles and the mythology, and what I could do and couldn’t do… and I was 90% done… but then, a total OH NO moment. I discovered a bug on the way to one of the final puzzles – I fell through the floor. The first time it happened, I managed to jump around and get myself out of the pickle and back onto solid ground. The second time, I wasn’t so lucky. I fell… and fell… and fell some more. I could not transform, as I was still, technically, inside the temple, and you cannot transform inside temples or ruins. So, I just continued to fall.

I let myself fall, just in case this was part of the “story” as a moment earlier I had read a “clue” about how the gods and spirits fell into the stars… and that seemed to be what was happening to me… but I just kept falling.

I exited the game and returned and tried again from the previous save (a few minutes before, at another puzzle, but, luckily, I knew where I was and what I needed to do) and, heartbreakingly, the same thing happened as I got to the top of the stairs at that puzzle… I fell through the floor… and, again, just kept falling.

I won’t uninstall the game yet, but if it happens again when I next try to get passed this point, I will, unfortunately, have to give up on this BEAUTIFUL game and move on to the next in my list.

Hello, 911?

My next game in the Great Gaming Adventure was “911 Operator” which is produced and developed by Jutsu Games, a Polish crew, I believe. They also developed various other sim games in the same vein. This is not my usual fare, but it came with a Humble Bundle, I think, and as per my Gaming Adventure rules, it was next in line.

I completed the game over 3 evenings, but I think the “Career Mode” can easily be completed in one sitting, perhaps 3 to 4 hours on the Easy level, which is what I chose. There’s a “Free Play” mode, where I think you can pick a city and just play until you get overwhelmed, growing your teams and adding firepower and technical support. (MORE HELICOPTERS! MORE MOTORBIKES! Cue the “Chips” theme!)

Surprisingly, once I got the hang of it, I rather enjoyed the challenge of the game. In career mode, you start out in a small town in Hawaii, with minimal crime and few incidents. Obviously, this is all on Easy Mode, as I prefer “story” over challenge – I’m a bit of a wuss like that 😀 – but there are 3 other modes of progressively crazy difficulty to choose from. Once you successfully complete a few duty shifts in this town, you are moved to a slightly larger town with more crime and incidents.

Loading screens were various helpful REAL LIFE hints and instructions for a multitude of medical or safety issues! Ranging from hostage situations to poisoning, burns, and, as seen below, hypothermia.

You have the 3 services to control, with incoming dispatch reports that you have to send out teams to as needed. Once I played a few rounds, I realised your “efficiency” rating depended on your response to each incident – Did you sent the SWAT team to a pickpocket report? Or did you send a single motor bike team to a gang shootout? Was the main fire truck sent for a cat in a tree? I was then able to prioritise and send the right unit for the appropriate incident level.

Scattered in between these incident dispatches are the bread and butter of this game – the 911 call. You get everything from men trying out their pickup lines (yes, seriously – “This woman must need an ambulance… because she just fell from heaven!” along with some other gems) to stolen cars, illegal parking, hostage situations, bank robberies, burning hotels, terrorists, and random political bombings.

Each city was progressively larger and more complex, or, in the case of your final city, Washington, not the largest, but filled with politicians and intrepid journalists – and yes, they call you, asking for information and comments. Sometimes, people even attempt to bribe you not to send the police, or they inform you that they know “important people” and that they could end your career, and you are given various choices regarding your reaction things like this. One caller wanted us to send someone to sort out her 14-year-old daughter who was throwing a tantrum and breaking things, and another as a politician who had gotten himself into a little pickle and wanted an ambulance, but “no cops!” I sent the police anyway.

The voice acting was pretty good, with about 9 pages of “Voice Actors” with about 4 to 6 actors listed on each page. They did a great job! Some of the calls were repeats, but generally, each call was unique in some way, even if just in the dialog options you were offered, or the location and level of threat that was present.

Overall, I would actually highly recommend this game for people who enjoy the “simulation” genre – and there are more games like this one under the same umbrella, made by the same small development crew.

Stay on the line, help is on the way…