Another day, another bundle full of games going for a very low price point. At only £3.59 for 12 titles, it’s hard to ignore such an offer. The games on offer cover a large amount of genres, hitting strategy, adventure, shooter and racing games, among others. It should also be noted that these game are not exactly indie titles, several coming from large established studios such as Paradox. But is the pack worth it?
As usual, i’ll look over each title one by one and first up is the Paradox game, ‘A Game of Dwarves‘ which attempts to be a mashup of several older and indie games (Namely Dungeon Keeper and Dwarf Fortress). Here, you control various aspects of the day-to-day life of a band of dwarves, ordering them to dig, to build and to do whatever else is needed in each level. It’s all very fun, sure, but it quickly runs into the ‘too easy’ territory. You’ll soon fall into a scheme where you don’t really need to do much to succeed. Still, it’s worth noting that all the DLC comes with this bundle too, making this a decent pickup by itself.
Also from Paradox is ‘King Arthur II: The Role Playing Wargame‘ a quite visually stunning mix of RPG and Strategy, pitching history and fantasy against one another with large-scale battles, mixed in with stat-based RPG progression and plenty of story. It has all the elements to be a really fun game and when things work as they should, it is. Unfortunately for it, things also quite often don’t work as they should, with glitches and lag ruining what could have been a highly recommended title.
Carrying on the strategy tone are the ‘Cossacks’ series of games, represented here by ‘American Conquest‘ ‘Cossacks: European Wars‘ and ‘Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars‘. All three titles play very much the same way, providing a good mix of Age of Empires empire-building with a more war-game strategy. Each of the games provide a large amount of content and all three have the same positives (Decent AI, interesting mechanics and a balanced difficulty) as well as the same negatives (No real widescreen support, occasionally awkward camera angles and LAN-Multiplayer only). So, do these come recommended?Unfortunately, no. In order to give these games any sort of play, I had to use the GOG.com versions I already owned as they have good compatibility with current O.S systems. The Steam versions, however, do not and often crash out and fail to run. A crying shame.
Carrying on the ‘classic’ theme is ‘Incoming Forces‘, a two-pack (Incoming/Incoming Forces) that’s sold as one title and both too can be noted side-by-side thanks to both not differing much gameplay-wise. Both have aged quite a bit, graphics giving off a very late 90’s/early 00’s feel about them and gameplay that mostly consists of zooming around and shooting whatever you need to shoot. Its basic, its fun but its also a bit limited in scope as outside of silly shooting, theres little else there. The first game, Incoming, also needs a bit of mod-work before it becomes playable on modern O.S systems though.
Kiss Ltd, the current publisher for ‘Incoming Forces’ have two other games in the bundle, one being ‘Hyper Fighters‘ a PC-port of the Wii-title, looks like a plane-sim, actually is more of an on-rails affair. It isn’t a good port at all unfortunately and looks rushed. The gameplay too is basic and at times incredibly boring. Not a game I would recommend playing at all.
The third and final Kiss Ltd game is ‘Lucius‘, a game that boils down to ‘The Omen: The Videogame’. For those who don’t understand the reference or those who haven’t watched the film series, its all about the son of Satan, rising to power via bumping off the various family members around him. Here, that’s exactly what you have to try and do in each set level, taking out the staff and family (and anyone else unlucky enough to get involved) along the way. Its a bit of a disappointment though, despite setting everything up as a Hitman-esque game with a spooky horror twist, the game really is more of a standard point-and-click adventure with rather simple puzzles. It also manages to get stupidly simple after the first few levels, a mix of less people to avoid and a buildup of powers all arriving to a rather damp squib of an ending.
‘Call of Juraez‘ is up next, and while Ubisoft holds the rest of the series, there is a reason why they don’t mind this first title being thrown around. It’s poor and just a little bit drab in every way. Rather dated, it’s pretty much indicative of an early-era-Xbox360 FPS, aka: occasionally flashy graphics, quite basic gameplay and a short single-player campaign. For those who enjoy the other Call of Juraez games, there’s enough reason to play through here. For those who prefer something a bit more fulfilling, you’ll feel pretty underwhelmed by the end of the campaign.
A small change of pace comes with ‘Xpand Rally Xtreme‘, a racing-sim title that starts out incredibly fun. Neat effects help build up an atmosphere, like mud and water spraying across the screen as you zoom through the various tracks. It feels fast, precise and fun… then, suddenly, things begin to change.
The game gets tough and detailed, throwing lists of parts and pieces to modify and fix each car at you, making them essential to progress any further into the game. Frankly, it all gets a bit too much if all you really wanted was a simple racing title. Thankfully, there’s always Arcade mode where you can just go right back to the simple stuff. That said, tinkering with the various cars can be fun for the serious racing fan, even though it’s likely to scare off a casual gamer.
Finally, we have two indie titles, platformer ‘99 Levels to Hell‘ and iOS port ‘Ballpoint Universe‘. 99 Levels to Hell is pretty much a take on ‘Spelunky’ with randomized levels and a high difficulty set that is sure to put off some players. While it is a bit rough around the edges, it is more than playable and for those who don’t mind struggling through some really sadistic difficulty choices, there’s fun to be had.
Meanwhile, Ballpoint Universe is a weird mix between platformer and shooter. On the other hand, it feels a bit weak thanks to its iOS roots being a little too obvious. The control scheme is completely operated via the mouse, which creates some really awkward moments. The game also manages to be incredibly unclear at times, often chucking you into random locations and refusing to give you much idea of where to go. It definitely has a unique style, though, I’ll give it that much
Overall It’s not a bad bundle by any means; the cheap price and large selection of games definitely gives value for money. The big problem, however, is that the bundle does occasionally feel like a B-Class pack. It’s as if the website is holding back on larger titles for a different time. That said, there isn’t much in the way of stinkers either. Each title manages to throw some fun into the mix. So, if you are indeed looking for something to play, you could do much worse than picking this pack up.