Blood Pact (NSFW Review)

Content Warning: This game involves domination/submission, a tentacle encounter, hard oral sex (facefucking), some degradation, fantastical amounts of cum, one light mind control element, and a trans-lesbian encounter. The game also presents these content warnings as an option before play, and it is recommended you read them beforehand.

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Forging A Blood Pact: An Interview with Ana Valens and Callie G

Content Warning: The interview below discusses Blood Pact, a game with Domination/Submission themes, some tentacles, a succubus goddess, a lust spell, and other elements not discussed in the interview, but available both in the review’s content warning, and the content warning page of the game itself.

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Let’s Talk About Toxicity In The Games Industry

Content Warning: This is a discussion of how folks can help, in various spheres of the industry, in dealing with abuse and abusive behaviours. Since it mentions abuse, gaslighting, and abusers, I have chosen to content warn this piece for the good of the victims and survivors of abuse, whether in the industry or without.

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Hero Express

Source: Review Copy
Price: £4.49
Where To Get It: Steam

Superhero(in)es are, as has often been proven, less powerful without folks who support them. Without Alfred, the Bat Family, and, of course, Ace, Bruce Wayne would have had a much harder time of things, possibly an impossible one (not to mention the many other folks who helped over the years.) And not all of them are in glorious roles. Mo Schreibnitz, for example, is… taxi driver to The Shadow.

You seriously mean to tell me you forgot? Ohhh boy…

In this particular case, you are a delivery driver, getting items to a superhero who… Regularly forgets them. No, really, the conceit is that he’s forgotten something vital to beating a villain, somehow, and you are meant to deliver it to him. In a very real way, you’re keeping this hero afloat in the business. By driving in a horizontal, 2D environment made of lakes, hills, valleys and assorted other obstacles and physicsy things, trying to get to the end by accelerating, slowing down, reversing, and tilting your vehicle to make sure it doesn’t explode.

You must be this grippy to ride the rollercoaster, kid.

And I think my main problem with this game is that, from the beginning, it’s a tough job. Trials eased you in. Heck, most games of this genre ease you in. But nope, from the outset, the level you start in is loooong. While there are vehicle upgrades, on that old “Each level is more expensive than the last” deal… This isn’t as helpful as, say… Designing the levels around a vehicle? Because, of course, the faster your engine is, the more airtime you get, the more traction you have on surfaces… This adds to what already happens in such games, where a slightly different landing or jump snowballs into changes down the line. Also, a more powerful engine might let you clear a jump more easily… Or it might mean that reversing to get a better run up is too effective, and you fall down a ramp that was going to make you too slow to make that jump in the first place.

It makes less sense that some of the other tracks seem shorter, so… Should be first, right? Well… No, they all have problems. Not least because they’re all different vehicles. Normally, I would say “Oh, great, different challenges, cool!” … But they have little dirty tricks. For example, in the Mamba stage, there are big hills. Big hills, and your allegedly off-road beast… Can’t handle them without upgrades. There are power ups that help… Well, a jump that is sometimes useful, and a cleaning spray that’s only good for if you’ve been hit with rubbish… But mostly, this appears to be a case of “Awww, sorry buddy, only folks with Traction this high can enter!”

Ah yes, the old “replace the chicken in the ritual with a rubber one” trick. The one that’s worked, er… No, I’m sure there’s a pulp story where that actually happened. SIGH.

It is, aesthetically, pretty nice. The music’s good, the tracks clearly signpost what’s bad and what isn’t, what things do make sense, and the hero is rightly portrayed as a berk (Although that he’s a dumpy man is… I don’t know how to feel about that, honestly, and that yes, there’s a stereotypical “Voodoo Queen” villain is… Ehhhhh….) But in terms of play, while I’m sure fans of the harder games of this genre may enjoy it, it’s definitely not a great introduction to such games (Which, to be fair, are often frustrating whether they tutorialise or not. But still…)

As The Mad Welshman is a villain, well… You can guess who he’s rooting for, even if his pride won’t let him lose this damn thing again.

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Blast Axis (Review)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £15 (Game has a free demo)
Where To Get It: Steam

Space is big… But it does seem like, whenever there’s a horde of aliens, mindless or otherwise, infesting somewhere, it’s somewhere we are. This time, in Blast Axis, it’s interdimensional, pink and purple beasties, who just seem… Well, aggressive overall.

At first, I have to admit I wasn’t enamoured of the 6-degrees-of-freedom shooty spaceship-in-a-space-station funtimes of Blast Axis. I enjoyed some things, like the bio-luminescent, odd entities that infested the station, and even found that bright green nightvision mode more tolerable than other games I’d seen it in (I’m just not the biggest fan of bright green night goggles overall, sad to say.) But the map, at first, confused me, and as I wandered through its first (zeroeth) level, I felt… Somewhat of a lack of cohesion. Wait, why is this tunnels and junk, tunnels and ju-

The sudden realisation people lived here. Worked here. Died here.

And then I hit the second level, and I started seeing a little bit of the scale. An avenue of buildings, big honkin’ walkways, doors… This used to be a place where a lot of people lived, and seemingly, in the grand tradition of such games, mined rocks, and presumably explored things where “Should” was probably a better start to their sentence than “Could.” And I also answered the question for myself I’d also asked in that first level. Where was the difficulty?

Well, let’s digress into limits. There are more than 10 monsters, but not more than 20. There are 6 weapons, 10 ammo types, a couple of firing modes… At first, it seems a bit limited. But those ammo types, those firing modes, do introduce interesting things, and, even on Minor Hazard (the game’s equivalent of “Easy”), it’s… It’s surprisingly easy to get blindsided, and from quite a ways away, by even a moderate group of gribbleys. Some fire swirly trails that hurt. Some fire lots of odd spikey icicle looking things that hurt, like a machine gun. But one of the first enemies you encounter is both the most interesting… And the one that blindsided me the worst.

Taken about a twentieth of a second after the little sod rammed me. In two seconds, his friend will ram me from a completely unexpected angle. Thankfully, this was early, so I had a lot of backup armour.

They’re inoffensive, squid like things, with a single large eye, and glowing some blue/purple/pink shade like every other enemy (I actually like that, it makes for better visual distinction, and the glow makes them easier to spot in the dark too. The very common dark.) And, until they notice you, they really do seem inoffensive. Hell, in the first level, you rapidly chunk them before they do. But when they do notice you, and you don’t notice them… That’s when it hurts. Because they’re suddenly fast, attack with headbutts, and then vanish into some corner, until they spot you again. And again. And again. Projectiles, you can see. The mine like enemies… You can blow up, easily. But those little sods? They did more damage to me than even some of the more powerful enemies later on, overall.

So, from an unpromising beginning, Blast Axis started winning me over. Cyclopean machinery, long dead… The axis of the outer wheel, so far away… The aesthetic started to win me over. The music is filled with low key dread, the station and the machinery of the game feel worn (even the ship is clunky and battered, and I love that.) Aesthetically, it pleases, even the slightly clunky menu, and the oddly 70s style title.

“I can’t shake him!” “Stay on target…”

This is not to say the game is without flaw. There is a dash boost, and it’s all too easy to trigger when you don’t want it to (the trigger is double tapping, but even “tap…tap” can sometimes trigger it, which is annoying when you’re being cautious.) The keys are rebindable, but I found it odd that Shift is the default “go down” key (normally it’s Ctrl.) And the map is… Hard to get used to, as it’s not your normal map, but a map centered around you. So using it can sometimes be a distinctly confusing and irritating experience.

Otherwise, though, this definitely isn’t a bad 6DOF shooter, and it starts you on the easy difficulty, which is nice (even if, judging by it, medium and hard are going to be utter bastards. Minor Hazard is challenging, tense at times, but definitely not unbeatable.) I wouldn’t exactly call it a good introduction to this subgenre, but it does feel like it has a solid place within it, with its own touches that make it interesting.

For cross dimensional invaders looking for a good space station to inhabit, please contact TMW, care of… Well, we’ll find you when you’re ready for an offer…

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