May 26, 2017 Last Updated 1:51 PM, May 25, 2017
Empathy: Path of Whispers
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Empathy: Path of Whispers
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OPN DevLounge Monthly - March 2017
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Rey Urias

Rey Urias

Rey Urias is a professional writer, having spent his career penning textbooks on craniofacial orthodontics, promotional flyers for holiday specials, proposals for multi-million dollar military contracts, and documentation for enterprise IT systems. He has a background in Information Technology, but his favorite technology has always been video games. Growing up, he relished the serenity of Harvest Moon, the strategy of Command & Conquer, the epic experiences of Zelda and BioShock, and the challenges of Call of Duty, Ninja Gaiden, and Soul Calibur. But these days, Rey spends his free time with his amazing wife and adorable daughter - and when he can sneak it in, he plays Smash 64 competitively as poobearninja, the king of the up-smash.

Our second installment rounds out the devs we visited, and the amazing work they showed us. While Fred, Shane, and I were grabbing some captive-market-ly priced food at PAX, we overheard a group of attendees, gamers, beside us in conversation remark that the “Indie (Mega) Booth is growing” every year, it seems. Kyle (LessPvtParts) and a leather-jacket clad man – known only as Montana – echoed this sentiment over a nice, sub-zero smoke break.

The PAX team should be commended for the exceptional management of the event itself. The "Red Shirts," or "Enforcers," that is, event staff, were generally very helpful and polite. A majority of the staff was local to either Boston or the state of Massachusetts, so their demeanor reflected very positively on the locale.

I’d like to think that most readers find OPNoobs reviews to be helpful. We are gamers, not activists, and we report on the experience as such. Before I began writing for OPNoobs, I emailed Fred Brizzi, the original OPNoob, the following: “The work I read on your site is no-nonsense game reviews with the welcome infusion of personality, and I think the gaming community benefits from such an approach.” It’s as true today as it was when I wrote it, if not more so. We really just care about games here, and the gamers that play them. So, with this benevolent concern in mind, my advice to the readers regarding Zenza is a hard pass.

Cursed Castilla is, objectively speaking, a good game, even if you are not a fan of the genre. I would recommend one thing, however, much to the chagrin of OPNoobs Executive Producer Shane Gamez: play this game with a controller. "That's one of the things that really pisses me off… If I'm on a PC…" fumed Shane, "…I want my keyboard, I want my mouse," chimed Fred (Brizzi), capping off Shane's sentiment.

D&B Co. is an air sandwich.  It lives up to the PlayWay S.A. name in that it is anonymous, faceless. There is a stinging lack of purpose to it all, more so than what you would naturally expect going into a game about knocking down and putting-up walls. In striving to cut the fat out of the game, they removed most of the meat, too. Like the psychology experiment, you will find yourself pressing a button over and over again for momentary, meaningless entertainment. And like the experiment, it’s probably not in your best interest to feed your mind the mental equivalent of potato chips.

Farabel is a fair effort by FroGames. While the release was not completely successful conveying the uncommon angle it adopted, I’m not convinced the twist is doable. To the extent that it can be done, Farabel succeeded, though the gambit did not suffice of itself to excuse some of the weaknesses of the release. The experience is an interesting playthrough, though unlike the time travelling protagonists, you likely won’t travel back and spend the time to replay the story.

SHENZHEN supplies a sense of perpetual discovery because there are so many ways to play and experiment with code: you’re never wrong, you’re just not right yet. The beauty of the game lies in the elegance of its difficulty. You have to find the pattern. And RTFM. All 41 pages of it.

Powagrid succeeds in making you think you have a chance; it pulls you pack into missions even after you’ve been blown to smithereens more times than you care to count. This is what you want in a game: a sense of “I’m going to win this time; I think I’ve got it.”

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