Author - Ripper71

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones with Volume Limited For Safety Review

As adults, we have all been to some concert where the music was so loud we wanted to put in ear plugs.  Or, perhaps, you needed to protect your hearing during an NHRA race.  Obviously, protecting your hearing is important.  However, with children, it is especially important to protect their hearing.  You see, after the age of 3 months old, any hearing damage can become permanent.  Up through the age of 5, hearing damage can also affect the child’s speech and language development.  On the flip-side, it is important to let your kids listen to educational programming, music, etc for proper development. How do you balance volume vs music? The Kidz Gear Wired Headphones With Volume Limited For Safety might have the solution.

The Kidz Gear Wired Headphone with Volume Limiting For Safety comes with a nice set of headphones to get you started which are extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear, my wife will probably use them to sleep in since she likes to listen to movies at night but the device will work with a standard jack you would plug headphones into like your phone or an iPod or an airplane or whatever. The secret ingredient is the 7 inch long black cable which acts as a go-between from your audio source to the headphones themselves.

This is great, as it allows you to use it with any other set of headphones.  I tried different types of music, rock, classic rock, metal, punk, all that happened with them was a lowered down volume but didn’t sound muffled or distorted. Even bass which surprised me, I figured that would be the first thing that it muffled but it almost seemed like some volume was left in case that was an issue. I had my headset turned all the way up and my iPhone turned all the way up.  So if you are relying on the limiter to be your volume control that is the wrong use for it, you should as a parent set the proper levels on the headset for the the child it isn’t designed to replace parenting.  It just helps do your job well.

Overall, the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones With Volume Limited For Safety is a long name for a great device that helps protect the hearing of our future citizens and might not be such a bad idea for adults who value their hearing too!   For you adults out there, however, I would probably recommend using the volume limiting cable with a pair of headphones designed for the adult human head. It’s a sub $20 dollar investment into your child’s hearing, go do it!


Kidz Gear Wired Headphones With Volume Limited For Safety Review Score

(5 out of 5 stars)


 

Narcosis Review

I used to work on a purse net fishing boat off the coast of Southern California. On a pretty regular basis I would find myself hanging over the railing with just my wet grip on a rope or cable keeping me from falling into the dark water below.  That water is dark too, and so very cold the deeper you go.  In Jaws you can see the shark really clearly in the water but it didn’t take much depth on the west coast to lose your knowledge of what mysteries were swimming about in those tides. Divers know that the farther down you go, the more likely you were to panic, get bubbles in your blood while diving known as air embolism which can have all kinds of side effects though a couple of the more difficult to overcome are anxiety and auditory and hallucinations.  Go deep diving and you risk even bigger problems, like hydrogen or nitrogen levels getting too high in your deep diving gear.  This and the game are called Narcosis.\

Dive, Dive, Dive:

So this game’s storyline doesn’t roll on for very long before you find yourself wondering what is and what isn’t real.  As a matter of fact it starts right in the instructions and doesn’t let up.  Though it takes place in the depths of the sea floor it really reminds me of the feel of outer space games.  You are in a big suit with a large viewing glass to look out of.  You have to watch your oxygen levels like a space game, there are things in the dark to beware of (or are there?) you have to conserve your light, and watch your step so that your face plate doesn’t crack, collapse in, and kill ya quick.

Much like out in space where we really have no idea what is going on and what is really out there, the great depths of the ocean are the same in the sense of ever so often we see something come up into the range of our deep dive suits and we “brown” the back of them.  Actually a lot of the stuff is even freakier and scarier than the can be taken out with the provided weapons and a bit of light (actually light is the better of the two weapons since bio-luminescence is one of the only things that generally breaks the deep dark).

You know bad things have happened and you (hope?) didn’t hallucinate it by the members of the crew you find going through the devastation trying to save at least one butt, your own.  Others are curled up, dead in spastic contortions, leaving behind a collectible name card.

How long the game will last definitely depends on how you take the off paths looking for collectibles but that also means perfecting your movements like your booster jets so you don’t fall down chasms.  Along the same lines you can keep using flares, you’ll have an urge to hold on to them but the game provides a decent amount so if a spot is too dark and you think you might fall to a crackling death give a flare a toss.

I highly recommend playing this one in a dark room while wearing a set of headphones. It can be very creepy and is great for those dark and stormy nights where you want a good fright. You can also use VR in Narcosis on the PC if you have the equipment. While I do not, the game is really solid without, so I would imagine it’s even better with!

Dancing In The Dark:

This game is a whole lot of fun because it has some things that you very much expect and then all of a sudden you wonder what the heck is going on in this guy’s head? Hydrogen? Nitrogen?  Childhood nightmares and trauma?  You’ll have to take the dive to find out!

 


Narcosis Review Score

(4 out of 5 stars)


 

LVL Up Expo Las Vegas 2017

There are a lot of expos and conventions that hit Las Vegas and each have their own special niche, sometimes more than one.  But if you want anime and a whole lot of cosplay the LVL Up Expo is the place to be! There you will also find amateur wrestling matches, video game tournaments, air soft target practice, and panels with anime voice over artists like Sean Schemmel (Dragon Ball Z), Christopher Sabat with a whole bunch of voices also including some Dragon Ball Z, and Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect and Star Wars: Clone Wars).  Hale’s work alone is staggering and could take a whole day to cover. There were more panels filling the three days lining corridors with every manner of character in every way, shape and form.  There was plenty of understanding and no shaming for those who wanted to be a character that wasn’t their size, there were no issues about male or female characters, as a matter of fact the most popular Spider-Man cosplayer was a woman.

The LVL Up Expo in Las Vegas was a great event whether you were or were not into anime and comics.  My photographer didn’t understand many of the costumes she saw but loved them all and I even managed to win a hat at CrossFire… maybe next year I will do better in the tournament or take on one of the wrestlers. Time will tell!

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Lord of the Rings Online 10th Anniversary Review

Back when Lord of The Rings Online first hit the scene, I was already a seasoned gamer with A LOT of years under my belt. I had played alpha and beta tests of games and knew the pitfalls of game-breaking bugs. I dabbled in the MMO for a while and eventually moved on to other titles. There were many gameplay issues to be balanced out and bugs to fix. The game wasn’t broken by any means, but did take some patience. Fast forward a decade and I had been actually thinking of checking back in on some of the MMOs I had reviewed over the years – then my Editor-in-Chief tells me LotRO is having an in-game 10 year anniversary celebration. So off I go, I make a new account and jump right in.  How has it changed since it first started a decade ago?

First thing I noticed is that there are four free races you can play and nine free classes (when the game first came out it was subscription-based). This gives you a great degree of choice in terms of what race/classes to play without spending a dime. If you choose, you can then you can spend a little money and pick up the man-to-bear shapeshifter called “Beorning”.  This is a race and class combo with its own pros and cons.  Also of note is that I had a displayed “recommended server” for my part of the world with an active population that were both friendly and helpful.  I cannot tell you how many times I go into a game and have a whole bunch of more experienced players give my n00b-butt grief.  One time I was working on a review while recovering from a nasty car accident and a player on my team didn’t like how “n00bish” I was and told me “I hope you get in a car accident”.  The Lord of the Rings Online was totally the opposite, other players offered to tell me the way things were laid out, the standard way to do things, shortcut keys to do it faster and just how I could have more fun at the game.  Right after I asked my questions I was even invited into fellowships to help me get started and learn the ropes.  Seldom is it that such a quick positive response comes out of a community to a new player.

I could have skipped up levels as that is something you can purchase with real money, but I would only really suggest that for a character further down the road because the world is so beautifully detailed. The areas so smoothed out after so many years of play that you won’t find glitches in quests or NPCs, all you have is a nicely developed playing experience.  I also wouldn’t recommend playing the Beorning right away, as I think you should have something to look forward running around with after you get other characters leveled up.

PVP is very different in LotRO and works a bit towards something you will want to put money into while playing. Free-To-Play players without VIP status play on the monster side of PVP doing quests and getting titles as they fight as different styles of monsters against the VIP (paying) player who plays as “the Moors” and are the free people fighting the monsters.  You don’t have to be a permanent VIP player to do these battles as the people side, you can pay that as you go with in game currency. It keeps things fun and interesting!

So how most of the Pay-To-Play works in LOtRO is by purchasing VIP status for one month, three months, six months, or even a whole year.  This VIP status opens up pretty much every aspect of the game to you, adds a couple dozen perks, give you free in-game money every month and every chapter and volume of the game are accessible to you during that time.  They seemed to understand that if they are going to charge a subscription of a normally Free-To-Play game it needed to feel like a subscription game like World of Warcraft.  The nice thing is if someone can’t afford the subscription they can still play and have a great and rewarding experience with their friends regardless if that friend is VIP or not.  It’s a smart move to maintain a player base.  You basically wind up with three tiers of player: the FTP player, the VIP but nothing else player, and the VIP and additional prestige items player.

The prestige item player will get the same pony as the normal VIP at that level but they might also buy a special steed with armor plating or a coloring they like or named after a special kingdom.  The VIP prestige player is the one that makes it so that the FTP can come in and enjoy the beauty of the game that they probably otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.  The March 2017 edition of Wired posted findings of a study that said on FTP games 2% of players are responsible for 48% of all revenue.  That guy who has the sweet looking mount and gorgeous armor makes it so that a FTP person can play buy paying the developer’s bills.  I wish more games were built on such a model so that friends could game together regardless of their disposable income.

The subscription money hasn’t gone to just keeping the lights on at Lord of The Rings Online, they are constantly releasing new content that tells rich stories while leveling players up to 95.  Maybe one of the best draws of all is you can play them furry-footed hobbits.

A Tale Still Being Told:

Lord of The Rings Online is still going strong and just getting better and richer with time.  I am so happy it had its 10th anniversary to pull me back into its shires and castles. This isn’t just a flash in the pan game for me.  This game has true FTP, VIP, and VIP prestige style play and that means I will stick around, continue with the journey of my characters and hopefully be writing the 20th anniversary review in another decade!


The Lord of the Rings Online Review Score

(5 out of 5 stars)


 

National Association of Broadcasters M.E.T. 2017

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has been around for over many years. Once upon a time it was only filled by the technical professionals of the film and television industries. Over the years, things have shifted in part because of the increasing diversity of how broadcasting is done and also the level of quality that people have come to expect in their home entertainment.  Another trade show called the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) used to be where the “common folk” or folks who didn’t care about professional lighting kits or the number of MEs available for a live broadcast.

Things have really changed over the years, the biggest development being the inclusion of Internet professionals.  Someone can do in their bedroom a broadcast just as good a local television channel and can reach more people. Consumers have just come to expect broadcast quality in so many aspects of their electronics which is why this year it had the subtitle M.E.T., Media, Entertainment, Technology and covers everything from handy cams and drones to broadcasts to the space station and game shows.  We might check out the latest in large screen monitors but we also have jet skis with a steady system built onto the front for a smooth view.

It isn’t all about products though it is also about talking to people behind the scenes of Game Of Thrones and the movie Ghost In The Shell.  It’s finding out the requirements to get licensed on larger drones but also how you can reach out to our countries vets and get them help and jobs.

I wish I could afford to be a member of NAB because they not only bring us the next technology and explain the current but they try to make a difference as they do it.

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Endless Space 2 Early Access Preview

When our Editor-in-Chief asked if I wanted to review Endless Space 2, I said sure. I had some vague recognition of the first game and no bad memories to speak of.  Once I got Endless Space 2 downloaded, I started it up and realized why I remembered it: Endless Space was one of the most deeply detailed 4x games I had ever seen.  So going in I had to ask myself if the sequel would detailed as well, or would it be watered down more for the masses instead of the hardcore?

Lift Off:

Of course, being one of the most highly-detailed and hardcore 4x games I have ever played is not a bad thing, quite the opposite in fact, there are lots of serious players out there who feel they can’t find a game up to challenger their mad strategy game skills.  They aren’t out there to play a simple world building sim or a game that let’s you mess with a few predetermined planets..  They want to build governments up from scratch in the style they see fit. They want their ships to follow their design choices to match their style of gameplay,  whether it be peace-keeping or exploration or…. Conquering.  The player who wants all these things and more set in the great depths of dark space can find it in Endless Space 2.

 

If you have recently revisited the first one in anticipation of the second or are among the hardcore of the genre, you will probably be able to jump right in.  Since I play a few games a week of multiple genres stretched across multiple systems, I needed a tutorial video.  Thankfully, they have some tutorial videos available, although they do expect you to have a bit of knowledge about the game type already.  If you watch a tutorial video and aren’t sure from that whether or not you should get the game then maybe you should pass. That being said, this game is amazing but like so many games that are amazing to their followers they are a bit difficult to get into for those who are primarily casual gamers.

First you find yourself picking a race that most suites your play style.  The awesome part is once you have played a race and style to a point you might be getting a little bored with it you can start a new game with a new race and new ideals.  I found myself going toward an aggressive expansionary civilization out of the eight different ones to choose from. I like to build fighting ships and this game allows you to build just about every detail of your ships.  You can decide how many major civilizations you will be up against, how hard, how big the galaxies will be, just about everything you could want to control going in. You could also just hit the “random” button and head in with whatever the game selects for you.  Combining this feature with the other choices you literally wind up with an infinite number of playthroughs.  There are even up to 50 possible hero characters to lead your fleets to the stars and a total of 24 possible civilizations, and that’s not counting custom races.

So the game gives you massive possibilities when it comes to starting and as you progress so the game provides a tutorial.  Unfortunately I found the tutorial a little confusing from time to time but there are a lot of help videos on YouTube as well because unlike so many specialized games (MOBAs and some FPSs) there doesn’t seem to be player aggro in the community but rather support and an overwhelming desire to get as many player going on it as possible so the game can be as successful as it’s build promises.

So I mentioned space fighting but really the best way to thing of this game is as an ocean of space.  The ships are named after our water ships such as the schooner or the corsair, they can have armoring built on their ships or gun or they might use their spare space to use as a merchant hold to kept things to trade between the planets so that some of your ships develop trade routes.  Then you have to worry about pirates and see if you can make treaties with other civilizations to help protect each other and build defensive fleets.

Then you choose attack patterns as well so it’s not just like Risk where it is a roll of the dice, instead if you do a pincer movement with your destroyers getting to the stern where the armor is weaker you might take less damage and survive the battle so you can go to the nearest friendly civilization and get repairs done.

You can also set it up so that you play with your Steam friends because though AI is nice there is nothing like the comfort of having your bud guarding your merchant fleet and sharing the spoils of war.

To Boldly Build:

Endless Space 2 is in Early Access on Steam until its official release date of May 19th, 2017.  If you buy it now you get to play a near-complete version of the game which is already lots of fun, well supported, and infinitely replayable.  In the future, they plan to get other languages than English supported and even more content such as civilization quests, improving the beginner tutorial, adding to the types of ships available and a whole bunch of other things.  They will even have meta stories and community mods that they hope to add before May 19th.  So do yourself a favor: If you like this sort of game, pick it up now so that while others are still going through the guides you will be mapping out the stars ahead of schedule!

Quick Review of the World of Tanks Graphic Novel

World of Tanks has been one of my favorite games since it first showed up at E3 years ago.  Its sister games World of Warplanes and World of Warships are really good too but nothing seems to compete with the original which has me coming back to it no matter what system it is on.  Its newest platform isn’t a game but rather a graphic novel and that brings up the question if the game holds up well in static print.

Turn The Page:

First off it should be known that it is penned by Garth Ennis, which if you don’t know the name yet you probably know the work.  He wrote some Punisher, Hellblazer, all of Preacher, and a great series of comics called Battlefield, more than one run that involves tank crews.  When he does his war writing things get down and dirty so he was a perfect fit for World of Tanks.  I can’t think of any better modern war story writer to pen this fledgling series.

Ennis was also able to cover the fact that in games you are able to adjust your armor, guns and engine to change the speed by having the adjusted tank be an accidental training prototype that allows an advantage to the crew that knows and a disadvantage to the German tankers who don’t.  This leaves it wide open for changes in future installments when he is working with other countries and their tanks.

World of Tanks as a game isn’t gory, it just shows burning vehicles.  Garth Ennis is known for trying to be as realistic about the gore as he can, not shying from nastiness.  However he also knows the audience he is supposed to be working for and though you might see some bodies you won’t see much gore.  It seemed to be a compromise of Ennis and the publisher/game owners.

One thing I do want to point out though is if you had gotten the comics when they came out they had free codes to get starter kits and a free tank on each of the systems you can play the game on.  The starting kit and tank might have actually paid for your first couple issues.  The codes are expired by now but next time you might want to take a chance on the comic instead of waiting for the graphic novel.

Last Shot:

World of Tanks being written by Garth Ennis is a match made in literary heaven.  I am not sure who came up with the idea for this graphic novel.  Perhaps they just looked up “battlefield comics” on Google or they may have already been fans of Ennis from Preacher or The Boys.  However it happened I just can’t wait to see the next gift they bring us – it’s a great read!


World of Tanks Graphic Novel Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)


 

Man O’ War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles Review

I love to try pirate themed games.  I don’t care how bad initial reviews may or may not be, I will always give one a chance and that is probably because of years of playing them.  I also love to play games where I get to face off against orcs and goblins. The best and most notable case of this for me is a game I just celebrated a 10 year guild anniversary in.  So let me fight those black sails and privateers through waters where there be monsters… on other ships as well as the deep dark depths.  Man O’ War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles promises pirate combat and plenty of orcs to kill. Let’s see how she sails!

Full Sails To The Wind:

Man O’ War: Corsair is out now on Steam and first I’d like to address the game’s score.  It sounds like it was made by an orchestra for the History Channel and that is a great compliment.  The score is epic and sounds professionally orchestrated – it pulls you in and makes you think about the game having massive scope.  Massive sound=massive expectations, especially in this case!

The graphics are what you would expect from a Warhammer game, and it is truly Warhammer on the high (and low) seas.  These are some large boots to fill because usually when you think of Warhammer you think of fighting outside then maybe going into the occasional vehicle or siege machine. This time, however, it is the other way around.  You will get boarded by Green Skins or even board their ships, but you have to watch your back as well for the pirates or other countries who don’t like you and might want to use the opportunity to sink you.

You go into ports to get crew, weapons, ship repairs, upgrades and purchases, find contracts for everything from sneaking spies and diplomats between ports to making sure one ship or another never sees dry land again.  You have to be careful how many enemies you make throughout your journeys because when your ship is shot to hell, most of your crew is dead, and your sails are ragged sheets the closest port in a hell storm just might be what saves you.

Speaking of storms, the game has a terrific weather system that brings beautiful rain, fog, and snow – and sometimes these storms can be brutal.  But it isn’t just the monsters riding ships or diving from above that you have to fear, there are also great beasts beneath the waves that can tear your ship apart and leave you wishing for a bigger boat.

Man O’ War: Corsair is open world, with over 50 ports to visit (or sack) and you can play as a merchant, privateer, pirate, great sea hunter or any mix of lot to further your career through across the seas.

…Surprise, and that is just the humans!  You can work your way up through the dark ranks and even lead Green Skins in fleets to sack cities and torture citizens.  It is the Dark Gods you are trying to impress and their is no place in their royalty for the squeamish.  So (especially while learning) I suggest you save often and kill plenty.  Once again it is still open world and open season on the puny little humans and seem to fear nothing more than heads on pikes.

Shifting Sails, Headed Home:

Man O’ War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles is a terrific game, with an open world and a mind-boggling amount of playtime.  If you like naval combat games, you will like this game. If you like pirate games, you will like this game. And, if you like games set in the Warhammer universe, you will especially love this.  Man O’ War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles is a blast from the moment you get your feet wet and it is available now for about $30 dollars on Steam.


Man’O War: Corsair – Warhammer Naval Battles Review Score

(5 out of 5 stars)


Mass Effect: Andromeda PS4 Review

Space is big, like way bigger than any game or any series of games can contain, and that is just outer space, let’s not get started on inner space or aquatic space.  As a result the creators of the Mass Effect trilogy were able to craft three amazing games taking up tons of space with well developed characters and still be able to go… hmm where should we start our next trilogy of games? The Andromeda galaxy isn’t that far away in terms of space distances, let’s go there!  And so it was, Mass Effect: Andromeda, a ginormous game of its own was born!

Wakey Wakey!:

Cryosleep, it’s how we are gonna get there, pretty much everyone agrees, and they also agree those first poor buggers who wake up are gonna have a hell of a time with it.  They are gonna be cranky, probably not all hot and daisy fresh like Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Most would wake up with hard jobs and blame they want to pass off for everything that went on during the “welcome back from hibernation” weeks or months.  So you are the new pathfinder, chosen not by the decided process or the per-ordained individual but because your dad realize his was about to buy the farm and he wanted to hitch you to the tractor load.  Nobody seems genuinely happy about this, the best you get is indifference from a crew member who you helped move a couch.  This sounds like it might be spoiler filled but you actually get this unwanted vibe pretty early in the process, and those who do want you want you to help with stuff you should not be doing when there are so many big items on your plate.  If you are a completionist (I can relate often) this will keep you from some of the important tasks, even if not a completionist you might wonder if one of these quests that seem menial might pay off in the endgame.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do it all but my suggestion would be to try to do that on planets to start with, the resources and goodwill of getting all those cryo-cranks some terra firma between their toes goes a long way towards the good will up on the tin can.  You still probably won’t get much credit for anything going right but you can at least sneer at the computer/television screen.  When it comes to doing things both in ship and planet side it helps to have played the other Mass Effect games for a learning curve but they are by no means necessary.  I actually played them all and as a result plenty of things came natural and there are still a few things that even going with the tutorials I don’t understand what the heck I am supposed to do.  I know that this game has massive amounts of hours to play it, especially if you get into side missions.

This brings me to something I don’t usually remark on too much and that was how much negative press I was seeing pop up on my newsfeeds for this game.  It made me think the game must be pretty short and I kept waiting for it to end soon and disappointingly.  It just wasn’t the case.  Actually the more I played the better I thought the game was.  There is a difficulty curve, new story line angles unlocking as you go and you have the option to play naughty “Captain Kirk” with any species and sex in the whole game.  You can have heavy effects on what happens in the politics involved with the game or not have any play right down the middle trying to keep things as peaceful as possible.  You can make decisions that will reflect how the whole Andromeda Galaxy views the human species… are we explorers trying to find new homes or a military society that is just as comfortable interacting with others by putting a boot on their neck and a gun to their temple if that doesn’t work?  I am still working at side missions in the game and figure I probably will be for a while but I can tell that there is a lot more to this game than most people have probably given attention to and that would give them the wrong feeling about it.  If you don’t get far enough away from the snarky buggers on the main ship the game feels like a downer and not the fledgling battle of a new hero but rather a scapegoat that can be used to wipe whatever you stepped in off on.  This is the story of one person seeing the potential in another over all the opinions of others and you as the player proving that opinion right.  It’s an underdog story, the kind of thing most of us love (Rudy!  Rudy!) I just don’t think most people let it get to that amazing point.

The graphics and scope of maps and scenic locations are excellent and though there were some pretty brutal glitches and some rather large areas where manual saves are blocked and auto saves are painfully separated for the most part everything goes as planned.  I had one point where I fell through the ground and it chose the moment on the other side of the mapping to auto save (it wasn’t until afterwards I really thought it was funny enough I should have captured it) causing me to go back quite a ways but for the most part it wasn’t too bad that way.  Loading seemed pretty nicely quick when you consider the sheer size of these open world maps and how much detail can change in a short distance so that your health melts off you faster than you can run or suddenly a whole bunch of big bad guys have ambushed you.  Going planet side can be slow but again for a lot of the before mentioned reasons.

My big hope is for some releases with some more planets down the road, ugly planets, bug planets…

DON’T PANIC!:

Mass Effect: Andromeda I think is a great game and a nice power starter for a new trilogy of games in a new set of worlds.  We have a hero, we have planets, we have aliens… all we need is our towels.


Mass Effect: Andromeda Review Score

(5 out of 5 stars)


 

Castle Torgeath: Descent Into Darkness Review

I’ve been playing video games almost as long as there have been video games and ever so often one comes along so loaded with nostalgic feel that it feels like it traveled through a time machine.  The beauty of Steam Greenlight is these beautiful old school RPGs like Castle Torgeath can still find a home in your heart after so many years of hardcore games.

At the beginning of Castle Torgeath: Descent into Darkness, you are presented with a few paragraphs of text explaining the game’s premise. You are a down on your luck adventurer who finds a listing on a job board. The listing advertises an expedition into the ancient, and supposedly-abandoned, Castle Torgeath. The ad promises fortune and glory for anyone who joins in, so you grab your sword and start after the expedition.

The game resembles those old school, first-person dungeon crawlers like early Elder Scrolls games – actually, it more than resembles them – it is one! Castle Torgeath captures that retro feeling so well that, if you played through those kind of games when they came out, it is like a time warp.

You have three meters in you lower corner, one for mana, one for health and one for hunger.  Healing and mana are refreshed through potions and fountains and hunger is helped through food.  You want to keep an eye on all three to survive.  Occasionally you will stumble on a lost adventurer who will sell you the goods he has found or a spell he knows for the treasures you have stumbled upon.  Be wary of making too many trades or you might be short of valuables when you need them most.

There are multiple levels with bosses at the end and the game progresses with starting enemies being weak like rats to bigger enemies like summoned demons and big ass bugs.  All the time you also have to look for hidden clues and passages while avoiding hidden traps and enemies. The graphics are even retro, and they are done well enough to not make you sick playing but still simple enough to still hearken back to the roots it’s based on. The game features no speech, but plenty of tried and true text to read and the developers have quite a bit of lore scrawled out for your enjoyment.

At one point in gaming history, first-person dungeon crawlers relied on angular or grid-based movement systems. Torgeath allows for free-roaming movement, which should help modern gamers from giving up. The older movement systems can be rather constricting.

Last Health Point:

Castle Torgeath: Descent Into Darkness is a very fun play based off a very old school game design which works on a nostalgic level as well as introduce modern players to gaming history.  Besides it less than $10 and when you consider inflation isn’t that much more than it would have cost back in the day.


Castle Torgeath: Descent Into Darkness Review Score

(4 out of 5 stars)