eSports for indie | E4i

Nicholas Barkdull

Nicholas Barkdull

Nic is a writer and narrative designer with a PhD in Social Research and Cultural Studies. He thinks real time strategy games are still a valid form of e-sport, that true RPGs should be turn-based (with huge casts of characters), and that AAA games have a long way to go before they earn back our trust. He is the Lead Writer for Pathea Games's My Time at Sandrock, and his work can be seen in Playboy, South China Morning Post, The Daily Beast, and many other places.

Yes, Your Grace Review

Well written and beautifully crafted, Yes, Your Grace provides a compelling visual novel experience that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Daemon X Machina Review

Daemon X Machina needs some work. Its mechanics are rough, its controls are unwieldy and confusing, and its story is difficult to follow. While it’s mildly entertaining to pilot a giant robot, there are other games that pull off the experience more effectively.

The Pedestrian Review

A solid puzzle game with an interesting hook, though it lacks that special something to make it truly transcend the genre.

Warcraft III: Reforged Review

More of a remaster than a reforge, this remains a quality RTS title, but is a letdown for long-time fans with its lack of new content and Blizzard’s creativity-stifling ownership of custom maps.

Warhammer Underworlds: Online Preview

Overall, the audience of this title seems a little narrow and the purpose a little inaccessible to new players.

Pixel Noir Early Access Review

Pixel Noir attempts to bring the best mechanics from the golden age of JRPGs and combine them with a gritty, noir atmosphere. It achieves uneven success with its mashup of interesting ideas, making it rough around the edges, but indie to its core

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Review

An unnecessary remaster that, while fun to play, can feel drab and tone-deaf overall.

A Plague Tale: Innocence Review

A masterfully-narrated moving experience that could not be told in any other media. Imperfect due to railroaded gameplay, but otherwise it could've been a revolution instead of just a great game.

Tropico 6 Review

Tropico 6 involves a huge time investment and a steep learning curve, but it is a solid entry in the management/sim genre.

Monster Prom: Second Term Review

This DLC is more of everything that was good from the core game: More characters, more plotlines, and more satisfying story.

Yakuza Kiwami Review

A decent port of a classic, with an outstanding combination of rich story and comedic elements.

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN Review

A great Ace Combat title that follows its past formula too closely, giving you the great flight simulator you expect and no more.

Desert Child Review

Desert Child attempts to capitalize on nostalgia with a mish-mash of references from different decades. There are some mildly funny moments, but other than that it’s a side-scrolling shooter dressed up in a cyberpunk motif.

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two Beta Review

Asymmetric multiplayer — the idea that different players have different abilities, roles, and perspectives in a game — is an interesting concept. It’s also an area of gaming that has potential for a lot more exploration, even though there are already some very clever concepts out there. In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, you work together to defuse bombs.

Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1 Review

Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 offers a similar experience to the previous Life is Strange title with a handful of game elements removed. Fans of the previous game will likely enjoy the quirky dialogue and aesthetic on display here, but not as much as the original.

Lamplight City Review

Lamplight City is a steampunk detective adventure with great voice acting and unique worldbuilding—but the gameplay is full of unrealized potential.

We Happy Few Review

We Happy Few is far from flawless, but ultimately makes up for it with its fascinating story of a comically-dark dystopia.

Empires Apart Review

This blend of the old with the new relies too heavily on the old, while the new stuff fails to thrive. In its current state it’s buggy and lacks some fundamental requirements for smooth play we’ve come to expect from the genre.

Bio Inc. Redemption Review

Bio Inc. Redemption presents us with a confused tone: part of it wants to be taken seriously as a realistic medical simulator, while other parts seem to be trying to get a cynical laugh with out-of-place gore and sound effects. Still, this title is well polished and the gameplay is interesting (save for the Achilles’ heel of a terrible point management mechanic that destroys the immersion and fun). Flaws in both balance and theme could have been overlooked if not for the inclusion of this one unfortunate element.

Apocalipsis Review

Apocalipsis’ art style complements its gloomy tale incredibly well. While the story is nothing to write home about and the puzzles range from boring and easy to interesting and difficult, the voice acting and visual aesthetic make this title stand out from other point-and-click games. If you’re a fan of games as visual art, check this one out.

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