Tuesday, February 6, 2024


The opening salvo for my brand new Steam Deck has been Toem: A delightful indie game about taking pictures and solve basic puzzles… by taking pictures. A photographic adventure, if you will

Toem has been developed by a small Swedish studio (not terribly distant from Malmo, where I used to live) and seems one of those smart projects with clear ideas and execution. In other words, the game doesn´t try to be more than it can be. Visually speaking is basic, but cute and with personality. Gameplay wise it´s a mix of exploration and taking pictures. The world is small but fairly packed with content (normally associated to a quest or nice flavour animations/characters). The camera mechanic is a bit over-used, but it´s a short game and you don´t get to be bored of it

If anything, the game doesn´t have an engaging story. It doesn´t try to, but I suspect it could´ve been better if they´ve done a bit more work on that. Also, most of the quests are puzzles. In this genre, difficulty tuning is a common issue: If you make the puzzles too easy the game has no challenge and lacks engagement. If too difficult, most players will get stuck and quit. Toem leans towards the easy side, but there are still some quests I had to check on internet walkthroughs or I wouldn´t have found the solution

Luckily, you don´t need to finish ALL quests to get to the ending. It´s just that I´m a completionist. You can have a great time in your own terms, it´s a short but rewarding experience and not too expensive. Highly recommended, specially for those on the casual segment

Monday, February 5, 2024


So… I finally felt for the Steam Deck. It´s been in my agenda for a year, but I was hesitant. I´ve enjoyed portable devices in the past (in the most recent years I had a Nintendo DS and a PSP, aside from the iPad and cell phones) and I like the idea of being able to play whenever you feel like it. Particularly if had to commute daily, or travel a lot

The Steamdeck might fall in that category, but in these last 11 immigrant years I´ve gone through I´ve managed to live reasonably close to my workplace – generally within walking distance. That´s why I´ve been reluctant to buy another portable device aside from my mobile. Also, I love to have some sort of recording of my playtime – in other words, trophies/achievements – so I don´t feel I´ve thrown that time away - and Nintendo won´t offer that

Just recently my bosses got me into a conversation about how good the Steam Deck was, and I got the itch. Also there was a new model – the OLED – with better screen and longer battery life. So I said “what the heck”, and decided to buy it and see how can I make it fit into my life

We´ll see how it goes…

Thursday, January 18, 2024


As a follow up from LN1, I just finished the sequel (unsurprisingly named LN2 :D). 

Overall, it´s a smart product: Being the second instance of the LN franchise they obviously inherited pillars/main gameplay elements from the first game (setting, ambiance, most mechanics) and they added some extra sauce: A multiplayer/coop mode

The singleplayer campaign is as satisfying as it was the original game, with minor but well implemented twists (mostly related to the playpal). You again control a child-like character moving through platforming scenarios, escaping from monsters and traps. No dialogues, story just hinted by animations and player actions. And just like LN1 the game length (around 4h) feels right, it probably wouldn´t be as satisfying if the game was longer – as most commercial products aim to be nowadays

One benefit of the coop mode (in singleplayer the playpal is controlled by the AI) is a sense of responsibility the game develops in you towards the other character. The relationship between both protagonists is not complex, but based on time (you end up feeling both belong together). This is wisely used for dramatic purposes in the epilogue (no spoilers)

The only minus point is probably the frequent animation glitches. They´re not terrible – nor blocking the experience – but noticeable and easy to repro. Example: Characters don´t excel when dealing with collisions or interaction edge cases

I couldn´t test the coop mode, but I can imagine it´ll be nice. There are many gameplay situations requiring both players to sync their actions

I´ll give it a shot to the Platinum, I´m only 5 trophies away after my first playthrough. Otherwise, highly recommended if you like this type of games (i.e. Inside, Limbo)

Thursday, December 21, 2023


I didn´t know the Little Nightmares franchise was that successful, apparently it has a huge fanbase. I just recently finished the first one, and my first impression is that it´s one of those games with the proper length. It´s nice to see when the experience is not stretched to match the typical duration of a full price game, but instead change the price to match the duration

The best thing about LN1 is the ambiance. It´s clearly an art-driven project, trying to immerse players into what it seems to be a kid´s nightmare. You feel small and vulnerable, surrounded by oneiric scenarios. You don´t have many tools at your disposal, certainly no combat ones, and all you can do is to keep moving forward (right, actually) and leave behind the monsters

These seem to be based on traumas an impressionable little child might have: Creepy chefs, a janitor, an old lady… The game does a good job in making them look formidable and unbeatable. All you can do is find a way out

The story isn´t much, but it doesn´t try to. There aren´t many more features other than the single player campaign, but it´s fine if the price is right. You can finish the game in 3-4 hours, it´s not too complex and you feel rewarded when it ends. If it had 10 more levels and lasted 15 hours it wouldn´t have been as satisfactory as it was

If you´re into artsy games, that makes you feel something different without a hardcore challenge, I highly recommend Little Nightmares

Thursday, November 9, 2023


I was attracted to The Pedestrian´s concept since I saw a trailer on the internet. I had played a similar game in the iPad (Continuity 2) and liked it… but couldn´t finish it. The problem was common to other puzzle games: The game systems at the beginning are simple and you get some nice and easy challenges, but developers feel they have to ramp up the difficulty to keep the player´s interest, they keep adding more systems and eventually the puzzle involves so many elements and possibilities that it´s difficult to progress. I hoped The Pedestrian wouldn´t fall for the same

I was wrong

I basically had the same issue: The first 40% of the game is reasonably simple to grasp and entertaining. But then designers start adding more gameplay elements, which boosted the combinations and complexity. That made me think I´m not really a puzzle gamer. After all a real aficionado would be excited by the challenge and try over and over to find the solution, no matter how many hours it takes

I guess I´ve reached a point in my life in which I don´t think I can spare days on solving just one puzzle. If I do I don´t feel rewarded enough as to compensate for the time loss, and it´s even worse when later internet walkthroughs prove I wouldn´t had found the solution by myself in a lifetime, and if I wouldn´t resorted to external help I would´ve been stuck for ages

So, for the last half of the game I followed a video walkthrough step by step. I don´t feel bad about it, I honestly wouldn´t have finished the game solo, and at least I enjoyed it to a certain degree. But I wouldn´t recommend it unless you´re a true puzzle fan. The concept is still great, but soon it can make you feel inadequate

Wednesday, November 8, 2023



Much like others, I have a huge Steam library - Normally because the games are SO MUCH on sale sometimes that I can´t help to buy. But I rarely play them, I´ve been favouring PS3 and PS4 games lately. Precisely because of this I noticed Stories Untold was on sale in the PS store, and then I said to myself “wait a sec, don´t I have it already on Steam?”

And yes, I had it. I was tempted to buy the console version anyway to boost my trophy rating, but I thought using the keyboard might be a better option for a game that at times uses an early 90s word parser (I was wrong actually, the console version has an ingame word selector that would´ve made some of the puzzles MUCH easier)

Overall it´s a short game, if you know what to do it can be finished in around 3h. It´s divided into 4 episodes, each of them unique by itself, including specific game mechanics. All of them involve the player into a rather dramatic story. The last episode is an amalgamation of the others, providing an unseen-up-to-that-point connection between the stories

I like the game for several reasons: First it tries to do something new… several times. Then it tries to create an experience, to make you feel something you can´t in other media. It´s also fairly well implemented – within its humbleness, it´s an indie game after all – and largely achieves what it´s trying to. And since every episode has its own systems, there is a strong sense of variety

On the minus side, some of the puzzles were too obscure. I had to resort to an internet walkthrough – which is always either frustrating for the player (you don´t feel smart enough for the challenge), a sign that developers didn´t do a good job to make the game accessible for everybody, or simply didn´t cover that possibility with an internal hint system

Anyway I highly recommend Stories Untold. Its shortness is also a good thing: You pay less but those 3-4h give you quality content, as opposed to other games that reuse the same gameplay template over and over (cough cough Ubisoft cough)

Monday, October 16, 2023


 Honestly, the only reason I had Far Cry Primal in the first place was because it was bundled with the PS4. I just wanted to play Uncharted 4, so I kept Primal on a shelf for years. Until now

I even played Far Cry 5 in between. Maybe because I sort of liked it, I eventually decided to give Primal a chance. I am trying to clean up my game library from previous generations after all, and I still have dozens waiting (including Xbox 360 and PS3)

Well, I am not a Far Cry guy, but I give credit to Primal. It´s a spin-off from the series – normally set on modern times – but it has its own personality. All cutscenes are spoken in “troglodyte”, and you really feel in neolithic times

Otherwise it has the same strengths and weaknesses than other FCs: On the minus side, the first hours difficulty is poorly controlled and the learning curve doesn´t feel right. Highly annoying random encounters constantly spawn around you – I would say 95% I wasn´t interested in, but they kept happening anyway. And the content is the usual Ubisoft repetitive templates. Also, when the IP started the emergence was more chaotic/fun. Here you can combine different systems, sure, but I think they simplified/streamlined them so they can be chewed by a wider audience, as opposed to only the skilled few

On the plus side, after some hours you eventually achieve a certain zen state of mind: You get a grasp on the weapons and enemies, difficulty is reduced and you find yourself in a numbing dynamic of clearing the map from icons. Rinse and repeat. Much like other Ubisoft games (the AC series is just the same) the challenge is about how much time you want to put on it, not the difficulty. Most of the quests are relatively easy to complete if you have a minimum control over the game mechanics, it´s just a question of keep playing and try again if you fail

It might not be the best Far Cry around, but it stands out on its own right. And albeit repetitive, it keeps you entertained. It´s also a relatively easy Platinum 😉