‘Kings of the Castle’ Review

Released on Apple Arcade on January 17th, Kings of the Castle is a solid and enjoyable first-person parkour game. The pitch for Kings of the Castle is straightforward – it’s a multiplayer parkour racing game, like if Mirrors Edge met Mario Kart. Or more accurately, since this is Apple Arcade territory, imagine the ramping speed of Hot Lava with the competitive racing of Sonic Racer. Continue reading

‘Dear Reader’ Review

Dear Reader from developer Local No. 12 is a game that very cleverly uses its assets to create one of the most bingeworthy experiences on Apple Arcade. The game first presents itself as straight-forward and simple – each level is a chapter of a book in the public domain, we interact with the levels by rearranging sentence structure, fixing typos, and otherwise restoring books to their original intent. All the books used are certainly classics, though there were many I hadn’t personally heard of.

The game gets its hooks in players with its points system, promising players more content if only they spend a little more time playing through what is already available. As we unlock new books and finish more chapters, more ways of challenging the players are unlocked. New players only have access to levels where they will select the correct words to fill in the blanks, and as the game continues to earn our respect and invested playtime, things get more complicated. At time of writing I have eight specific types of wordplay, out of a total of twenty-four available.

I have already put a heavy amount of time into Dear Reader, much more than I have with any other Apple Arcade game I’ve played so far. Between the daily challenges and the promise of more books to unlock, I am confident the game will hold my interest for some time going forwards.

I’ve always been a fan of what I call the cross-binge, which is the art of listening to audiobooks while playing games like Elder Scrolls Online or something equally undemanding. I suppose with Dear Reader I have unlocked another style of the cross-binge, now playing a game while reading a book with Netflix or something in the background. This makes me very happy.

Dear Reader was played on Apple Arcade.

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‘Immortal Redneck’ is a Roguelite with a Short Fuse

Immortal Redneck by Spanish developer CremaGames is delivers a fairly solid first person shooter in roguelite package for better or worse.

The title of Immortal Redneck is deceiving – hearing it some might presume the game to have the humor of classic comedy My Name is Earl or comedian Jeff Foxworthy. What I experienced was a bunch of repeated one-liners that barely even registered as comedy. The premise is that a Kansas man who loves guns has been turned into an immortal mummy. Each life will see him rampaging through Egyptian styled pyramids filled with monsters until he is killed and reborn in the sarcophagus just outside danger, rinse/repeat. It’s a pretty boring story to set up some real solid game moments.

The gameplay loop consists of exploring each room, killing its baddies, and going up any staircases to the next floor. Players will want to collect gold from dead enemies, as between active lives they can purchase small stat upgrades to their character. There is a decent variety of weapons, powerups and modifiers, but I didn’t feel like I had enough time experimenting with any of them. A shooting range would be nice! I also despised the fact any powerup or modifier I touched would automatically activate and ruin my in-progress run.

A lot of the running and gunning was definitely fun! I especially enjoyed leaping across floating platforms with my shotgun to dodge and shoot flying skull monsters. Sometimes I did struggle with the mechanics of aiming with the default pistol. Redneck had a good speed to him that sometimes felt a little much for the smaller rooms.

Immortal Redneck is a fun time killer that never quite nails down what it promised to be. I would recommend buying it in a sale, and perhaps playing it between games that require much more of a commitment.