‘Trover Saves the Universe’ Review – A Specific Sense of Humor

Trover Saves the Universe is fine. Mechanically it’s inoffensive and nice enough to play, narratively It’s basic as heck, and comedically it offends a lot of people in the ways we expect from something advertising itself as “by the creator of Rick & Morty”. What I’m trying to say, is the game is fine. No real problems here – if you enjoy the humor, you’ll have a good time.

The game is acceptably good, depending on the audience. But holy heck, it goes on forever. And the characters never stop talking.  Oh, and there are collectibles hidden on each level to keep the characters talking on and on even further. Fortunately the combat is engaging and fun, with a decent variety of enemies to fight.

I won’t go into the humor or the specific jokes of the game – I think there are more qualified people than me to say why things are/aren’t funny. Instead I’ll just say there was enough entertainment value that I was both enjoying myself and fairly uncomfortable through my six hours of playtime.

Do I recommend Trover Saves the Universe? Yes, but it’s a thin line. I don’t recommend it to a lot of people I know. But here are the facts – Trover Saves the Universe has…

  • Solid combat mechanics.
  • Good exploration with plenty of collectibles for players to find.
  • A well-defined sense of humor in its presentation.

I played Trover Saves the Universe in VR on an Oculus Quest 2 on SteamVR, as purchased by myself.

This review was posted to my Steam Curator page! It’d mean a huge amount to me if you followed it!

‘The Haunted Graveyard’ (VR) Review

The Haunted Graveyard is a short walking-only VR experience that will leave players feeling creeped out or mesmerized by its delightfully kooky characters and Disneyworld’ish dark-ride style presentation.

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Steam’s “Play What’s Next” Festival Showcases TONS of demos for upcoming indie games WE CAN’T WAIT FOR!

Ah! I love these festivals so much! I love the focus on the huge variety of indie games that Steam has to offer. And the game selling platform just keeps putting more work into making the festivals accessible for players to find games, and profitable for developers. Steam just launched a new festival called “Play What’s Next” with a ton of game demos. We’re hype!

It’s just so exciting seeing all these games that are coming soon with playable demos. The festival will be lasting from February 03rd to 09th, though it’s unclear to me which demos will stay on Steam?

I’ll be trying to write short reviews of the demos I play through Instagram and Twitter over the next week, with a full roundup posted here sometime after the end of the festival. Stay tuned!

‘Ragnarock VR’ Review – Beat Saber’s got Nothing on Fantasy Prog Metal

Ragnarock is a VR exclusive rhythm game made in the style of the massively popular Beat Saber. It feels like Beat Saber has created this whole new genre of rhythm games in the VR marketplace, where players dance and wave their controllers to the music to hit notes. The thing is about this growing little sub-genre though, is that so much of the featured music revolves around some form of electronica, I think is the term. When Ragnarock popped onto the scene airdrumming to its fantasy prog rock/metal soundtrack, I was sold on the game very quickly.

Ragnarock has a lot of neat visual mechanics that affect the gameplay in ways we hadn’t seen in other dance VR games. The absolute coolest of which, is that you play your songs aboard a Viking longboat as a drummer. The better you perform, the faster your Viking rowers make speed down this beautiful icy river. This is a real dang cool way of showing players basic score with no numbers, just a scenic journey.

The drumming can get a little difficult due to issues with height adjustment. I had trouble figuring out exactly what my drumsticks should look like before starting, so ended up having to start a session, end it, start a session, and end it, all so I could mess with the settings in trial and error. Still, the drumming felt good with haptic and visual feedback, especially once I had found a decent setup. Maybe developers can add some in-game advice about calibration? This should be about how to align your drums properly, how to stand, etc, for the best play session.

I openly admit I am very terrible at Ragnarock, and heck, I’m bad at most rhythm games. Despite this, I had an excellent time just listening to the songs and trying to make it further down the river with my Vikingfriends. Hopefully WanadevStudio can continue working on adding new songs and rivers and boats to the game, and by the time I come back to play next we’ll really Rock.

Interested readers can buy Ragnarock on SteamVR.

Dance and Shoot in VR as an Agent of Biodiversity in ‘Star Shaman’

Star Shaman is an indie VR first person shooter roguelike from Ikimasho that offers its players a lot of unique style and energy. In the trailer the developer released at launch, we see a woman dancing some crazy moves as she plays through a level in ways that really inspire me – Will I have as good a time as her? Probably not, but I’m going to damn well try!

At its core, Star Shaman plays fairly similar to something like Space Pirate Trainer. For the uninitiated, this means you stand in one spot and are dodging incoming fireballs and missiles and using an arsenal of weapons to shoot down a variety of enemies that come in waves.

There are some pretty big differences here though. In Star Shaman, you’re actually moving between levels – though all start out looking the same at the beginning of the game for reasons that suit the story. The most major mechanical difference in the actual fights is that we have to summon our weapons to use them against enemies while dodging their attacks. This actually added a lot to the gameplay, as the motion of summoning my gun became part of my groove with dodging. I really felt in tune with the music in a way most typical rhythm games don’t give me.

There are more weapons and upgrades that are unlocked by continuing to play the game. You see, Star Shaman is roguelike in the style of FTL where players progress through tiers of battles at set difficulties with some story mixed in, until the next tier unlocks. The game advises us to be careful about going too far, but I’m still a little confused about how the progression works. There are multiple weapons to unlock, but they require us to grind huge amounts of attempts through the game.

It is implied with the fact you are drastically changing the worlds you’ve beat, by growing flowers and rebirthing life, that there will be a wide variety of enemies later down the road in gameplay than I personally reached. At least, I can’t imagine the developer would add all these beautiful effects, levels and creature designs and then not use them for a good fight?

I really do feel enamored with Star Shaman. I feel selfish about this, but I love the mystery of it – it’s not often I find a truly great game that none of my friends are talking about, and it’s up to me(!) to find the answers to the riddles. I should also mention somewhere here that the soundtrack is very much my jam, and I love it.

Sam played Star Shaman on Viveport Infinity, but it’s also available Steam and Oculus Quest! If you want to talk to Sam about the indie game that’s been on your mind, give him a shout on Twitter!

‘The Room VR: A Dark Matter’ Review

The Room VR A Dark Matter from Fireproof Games is one of the top virtual reality games available. That isn’t me being controversial, it’s a fact – A Dark Matter is one of the only VR games on Steam rated Overwhelmingly Positive by users. There is good reason for this widespread approval of the game, because dangitall this game was great.

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The ‘Venice VR Expanded’ Festival is Incredible!

This is my first year delving into the VR scene, and goodness, I am thrilled about all of the cool projects that I’ve been finding. Most notably is the Venice VR Expanded Festival of 2020 as put on the famous La Biennale di Venezia Film Festival. This VR Expanded Festival is huge! It really just inspires me for the future of the virtual reality scene. There are so many well told stories on display with such a wide diversity of flavors and genres and creators.

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What’s the Deal with These Ancient Steam User Reviews?

I’m a big fan of browsing user reviews pretty much anywhere I can find them. I love the idea of finding people with review-brains like mine that just want to critique, ramble, and gossip about every media possible. Steam User Reviews have proven a great source of entertainment for me, bringing me much joy and frustration reading the reviews of both the talented and the first-time writers. But Steam User Reviews work around a lot of algorithms to try and give people the best idea of whether a game is worth buying or not. Or that was the idea anyways. I’ve recently found a great example of how the Steam User Review system is currently broken in the store page for the game Dead Effect 2 VR, and I will explain how I believe Steam can go about solving these issues to make a more efficient store experience. 

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‘Necro Mutex’ Combines B-Movies with Old Arcade Classics into VR Awesomeness

Necro Mutex by game developer Denormalizer feels like it has been unfairly overlooked by just about everyone. As of writing, the game only has twenty-one reviews on Steam. I’ve seen overpriced lootbox micro-DLCs with more happy players than that! It’s a shame, because Necro Mutex is something truly special when it builds itself up.

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Innerspace VR Announces ‘Maskmaker’

Innerspace VR has already won my respect with their previous game, a Fisherman’s Tale. It was a really cute puzzle game that grew more weird and trippy as players went further into the story. It was from the street cred from their last game that I’m so confident I’ll enjoy their next game, Maskmaker. My first move after reading about its announcement was literally to add it to my Steam wishlist.

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