Gyromancer: A new game by Popcap Games and Square Enix for the PC available on Steam. Pretty ok priced too. Got it after trying out the beta. What it is essentially is RPG + Puzzle gaming, specifically Bejewelled. The combat system is very unique, almost like a throwback to Puzzle Fighter. Graphics wise… not that into it. It’s Korean art, and non-animated, so it does give the Visual Novel feel with the puzzle game thrown into it. Plot wise, if you can call that weak-boned thing a story, then perhaps there is a plot. The story is a shambling thing hashed together desperately just to give the game some semblance of a motive and background. Disregarding that, I am quite hooked to it. Perhaps because I love puzzle games.
The thing that is interesting is the battle system. You play Rivel, a summoner of beasts, who can expand his menagerie of creatures by obtaining glyphs called Gyro-codes. Each beast is attuned to a certain element, and there are quite a number of them. Each beast’s power also does stuff to the puzzle board, some creating obstacles – even your own creatures, and others destroy these obstacles. All beasts have at least 3 incarnations, all obtained through Gyro-codes, so there are quite a number of them to get.
Maps are pretty big, and the monsters are shown on the maps, so there is no random fights. There is also an achievement system that I’m sure if Cheuk ever gets into this game, you would be trying to complete every single one of them.
Overall, it is an entertaining way to play Bejewelled – insert difficult too. Despite the story – or lackthereof – I find doing the puzzles with a goal in mind – defeating a creature – to be rather refreshing and not so idly rotating gems. Hehe.
Torchlight: Aka, Diablo 2.5. Of the two new games I got through Steam, this is the other one. I don’t know if it is to temporarily stand in the absence of the extremely late Diablo 3 or what, but well, here’s Torchlight, a game by the guys who did Diablo and Hellgate: London. All I have to say is that this game is exactly Diablo + Diablo 2. The user UI, layout, storage system, item classification, saving – Save and Quit, is exactly the same as in D1 and D2. Hell, even the music is exactly the same. That said, it is still entertaining in some aspect. The demo did wet my appetite, and I was quite impressed with the demo, for it was not just the normal kind of demo ‘This is the end of the demo’ 15 minutes into the game, but it really went well into the game. Graphics and spell effects are flashy, unlike that in the D series, which fits very well with the cartoonish style that game adopted. One aspect of the game I do like is the pet. The pet, while doubling up as a partner in fights, also plays the role of a courier, selling your junk items and allow you to continue adventuring.
Story, like Gyromancer, is barely holding water. A mine that is on top of a necropolis that is on top of a sunken ruin that is on top of a primal place that is on top of a dwarven fortress. One is made to think that Torchlight is on the summit of a mountain and all you are doing is going through the mountain from top to bottom.
Otherwise, it’s Diablo, and I have to say, I do like it. :)
The last is Heroes of Newerth (HON), DoTA having evolved into a single entity by itself. Nuff said? I think so. It’s just upgraded graphics from the good o’ DoTA. They didn’t even bother to change the character designs and the design of other stuff.