Toadled was released on September 22, 2016, so I am late to the party. I stumbled on the game while clearing my backlog. I am trying to try games I forgot. I do not always give these games a second look, but Toadled was different.
Toadled is a point-and-click game where you play as a Toad who must consume everything in his path to grow bigger. Unless you’re reading the collectible comic pages, Toadled has no story, and that’s alright.
It has one job, and it does it okay.
Toadled is a point-and-click game with simplistic gameplay. You point your mouse at an object and eat it; if you do this too slowly, the object will damage you. You will have to collect coins for upgrades and avoid bombs.
Toadled could have benefited from placing the toad on the screen in a better position. On occasion, I found it hard to track everything going on: You can get around this by using the slow mode.
Each of the upgrades will mostly make your gameplay experience easier. Some of them, like fewer bombs, felt like they were a waste of coins. The growth time and shrink-less upgrades were the most useful during my time with Toadled.
As you progress in Toadled, the screen appears to get smaller. Or the objects are so out of scale it becomes hard to track them. I felt there was not enough polish given to the end game. The difficulty comes from the toad getting bigger and objects moving faster: However it often feels like no one thought this through. As the toad gets bigger, the objects appear to be scaling incorrectly.
I was not Expecting Much.
In my Toadled mini-review, I discuss how this game does exactly what it sets out to do! There is no innovation in Toadled, and that’s okay, I guess? I wasn’t expecting the game to blow me away, but I thought I would hate it.
Toadled gets a 5/10
Toadled will be receiving a 5/10, and that is not a bad score by any stretch of the imagination. Toadled met my expectations! It runs well, and I had no issues playing the game. Some of the gameplay elements feel tacked on like the fewer bombs upgrade.
Toadled is getting a 5/10 because:
It runs well enough, and I had no issues trying to play this game.
The gameplay was straightforward.
Some upgrades felt tacked on or completely pointless.
There are collectibles in the form of comic pages.
Toadled did not do anything new but met my expectations.
Rainbow Six Extraction has a fantastic foundation.
The foundation of this game is strong, and the developers should be proud of what they accomplished. Rainbow Six Extraction has its own identity and feel despite borrowing most (if not everything) from Rainbow Six Siege.
As of this review, you can go out on missions in four locations (as of this review), complete assignments, and do the Maelstrom Protocol (ranked) game mode. You will earn cosmetics, tech, and new operators as you play.
An assignment takes place on any map and is of critical difficulty. Each assignment will be different, and they cycle every five days. Kick the Anthill has been my favorite thus far, but the game has not been out long enough to see what is planned for this game mode.
Assignments give you a generous amount of XP; I was able to get multiple operators to level 10 from Kick the Anthill: This is both a good and “bad” thing. Once an operator gets to level 10, the XP they earn is no longer useful.
Maelstrom is a fun but disappointing ranked experience that feels like last minute. In this game mode, you can move up to diamond class by completing a string of objectives that increase in difficulty as you play.
The XP is worth it, but the problem comes from the cosmetics. As you play, you earn a helmet that is put on a timer; you will have to achieve the same rank to get this helmet again at the end of the cycle. The helmet is not the only incentive to play; you can earn a small amount of premium currency from participating in the ranked mode.
However, I have the same complaint about using level 10’s in this mode. A level 10 earning XP feels useless, and since the roster is limited, you will have a couple of them on your roster.
You will travel from location to location, gathering intel about the threat. You will earn tech points, operators, and new locations to play in as you progress. The story is nothing spectacular, and I found it tedious to follow, aside from reading a couple of codex entries.
The lore provided in the codex is one of my favorite parts of the game! Though I wish they would explain a little more about what is going on. There is a lot of reading you have to do if you want to understand everything.
Character Advancement and Customization
Most of the character advancement feels the same. You’re going to get speed boosts, armor boosts, and new weapons across all characters. Characters began to feel different within their abilities. Getting an operator to rank ten should give them the boost they need to compete.
You can change the characters’ headgear to match their body gear or mix and match: I appreciate this because I can make my operators look however I want. You can also give some guns a new skin, and the skins are cross-compatible with all firearms. If you have a skin for one gun, you will have it for all guns that can wear a skin.
Depending on your preference, some of the best operator outfits in the game are unlocked by completing story content, and others can be bought from the store.
You are given a healthy number of mutations to fight, they all do something different, and each presents its own challenge. Since the game just came out, I think the selection of “special infected” is at a reasonable amount.
You can play this game your way; if you want to go in loud, you’re going to have trouble especially depending on the mission type. However, if that is something you want to do it will work for most missions below the two highest difficulties.
The operator health mechanic is something I thought would get in the way and make the game feel like a chore. Honestly? It works fine. You are encouraged to change operators and try new things while you go out on missions.
The tech is okay, and honestly, I wish more thought would’ve gone into what tech will be used. Some of it is clearly more useful. The tech you take will also depend on what your teammates have, so I guess you can mix and match as you please.
The operators all feel the same for the most part. Some of them have more armor, and some have what I consider to be better abilities. Some operators get a better selection of weapons, but that will depend on your preference. You can pick who you like and level them up as you please.
Rainbow Six Extraction earns a solid 7/10 for what we got on release. I am not taking into account what is coming.
Solid amount of operators to choose from, and although I do not like them all, there appears to be something for everyone. I wish each operator felt more unique during their advancement.
The game offers you a good amount of information through the codex. However, I wish we could have gotten more cutscenes or something explaining what is happening. There is a lot of reading in this game, and most people won’t take the time out to do it.
A healthy selection of missions and with two extra game modes, you will always have something to try while you play the game. None of these game modes offer special, permanent rewards for playing. The ranked helmet is on a timer. You always get XP but that starts to feel like a waste if you’re playing a level 10 and have all the tech.
The game is fun, you do not need advancement, and you can unlock skins just from playing the game. Doing the “story mode” will give you new lore to read in the codex.
The “special infected” are cool, and some of them present a major challenge. Apparently, you can watch YouTube videos on them, but upon further discussion, I think these videos should be in the codex.
You can feel the care put into this game, even if it’s supposed to be a spin-off or something. Each map feels unique, even the ones I hate playing on. I also appreciate that you have to think about how you approach an objective. However, I do find it odd that the map is not on your screen while you play. They could add it to the screen and present fog of war to keep the surprise of the map.
The content that they have provided feels solid enough, however parts of the game still feel unfinished. The story also feels like it was cut in a couple of areas but the last cutscene you get provides a solid jumping point for future content.
Rainbow Six extraction is a fun game with friends that will keep you wanting more. Stealth gameplay is rewarded with a healthy amount of XP, and the variety of game modes will give you something to do each time you load the game. However, everything appears to come to a standstill once you hit level 10 on your operators: This is only a problem for people who want constant progression. The future of this game looks bright if support is continued! Once you run out of things to progress on, play anyway. The gameplay loop is solid, and I look forward to what comes next.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite was released on 8/24/2021, and before I had the game downloaded, I thought it would be a fun experience. For one level, the game was fun and looked promising. As I continued playing, I ran into some issues that other wave-based shooters, like WWZ, have fixed or done better.
Before diving into the game, I want to discuss the two editions you can get at launch.
Standard: You get the game and no DLC.
Deluxe Editon: You get the base game, Endeavor Veterans pack, and the season pass for seasons 1-4.
I have many issues with this deluxe edition, mainly because they’re offering a pass for something that might be garbage or might not come out at all. We see this a lot in 2021; games are adding a season pass early to pad out the edition’s price. For Aliens: Fireteam Elite, they somehow expect people to pay $79.99 for that edition. The base game is only $39.99.
The story mode feels like a punishment.
The story mode is on the longer side; each “chapter” has three missions inside before you can move onto the next. You will have to complete twelve missions to unlock the horde mode.
For whatever reason, they decided to lock hoard mode behind completing the story: This decision might’ve been acceptable if there were other game modes to play. Going through the story mode is long, and each mission has a recommended combat rating. The combat ratings are easy enough to hit, and you can increase yours by adding attachments to your weapons.
You can buy attachments from SSGT Park, but you’re better off finding the hidden crate on each level; if you want to speed through the story mode, I suggest buying what you need. Aliens: Fireteam Elite doesn’t open up for your classes until you level up. Grinding in this game is a mess because of how long the missions are.
It feels like you’re being punished during the story mode because the game is not rewarding your time. Sometimes you’ll get to see a pleasant environment, or someone will equip a fun challenge card, but overall the game suffers from being dull.
The audio is lacking, but the music is fine
I enjoy the music in this game. It gives you a strong sense of science fiction, and the vibe is fantastic: They did a great job matching the music to each level.
I dislike the way the guns sound. The M41A3 Burst Rifle sounds okay, but the M10 sounds like you’re shooting marbles. The sound to the M10 starts to get drowned out by the music, making the weapon sound washed out. The M41A2 Pulse Rifle has the worst sound effects of all the guns I have used thus far: It sounds like someone put the gun in the washing machine during your shooting. In contrast, the Kramer .50 Magnum has fantastic sound and is satisfying to shoot.
None of that would even be a big deal, but the rest of the sounds in the game are horrible. The trauma station makes a slight beep when you deploy it that is hard to hear over the rest of the audio mess during a mission. The aliens themselves don’t bring anything new to the table; they’re just like we’ve seen before in L4D and games like it. The only way to know when a special alien is around is when one of your teammates calls it out. The sound cues for the aliens are horrible, and I hardly notice them while fighting.
Character creation is dull
You play the game in the third person, so that’s okay. At launch, the character creation is dull, and the suits are uninspired. A lot of the customization options make sense for the style and tone of the game, and some of them don’t. Aliens: Fireteam Elite doesn’t have sliders, so your character’s only hope of looking unique is by their outfit and headgear.
You can buy outfits, head accessories, colorways, decals, emotes, and challenge cards. If you want to purchase one of these, you’ll have to spend Rep Scrip. I suggest leaving decals alone because they’re too small to see.
Everything is drab except for the colorways (gun colors). The colorways are a refreshing burst of color to an otherwise dull setting. The emotes are weird, some of them look cool, and some might give you nightmares. The LOL emote is horrible to look at; your character opens their mouth so wide an alien could pop out at any moment. The dance-kickin’ feet emote looks awkward and stiff.
The class system is one of the worst I have ever seen
This is what the class grid looks like, and I despise this system. You get core upgrades and modifiers for specific skills, and each upgrade will fit into a few boxes. Why they picked this way to do things is beyond me. Some upgrades take up three boxes, and some take up four. Some upgrades are long, and some upgrades are shaped like boxes.
Before you can equip anything, you have to make sure you have the space. The additional boxes are locked behind ranking up. I wouldn’t have a problem with this system if it made any sense! Taking the time to level up should be rewarding, and in this game, it’s not; you can unlock modifiers and upgrades as you play, but sometimes you can’t use them because of the lack of space.
I think this system is boring, tedious, and frankly, a slap in the face to the medic whose abilities charge exceptionally slow. They should have copied WWZ or went with a different system altogether.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite works for what it is but could’ve been better
When you speak to NPCs, their mouths don’t move, and the woman who speaks to you during your missions gets annoying to listen to. Some of the environments are dull, and the sound effects need work.
But the challenge card system is a load of fun! Each card gives you rewards once you complete the task. I love the challenge card system because it helps make the story mode fun. The weapon customization brings a breath of color to the game, and each weapon has its own stats, making it easy to find one you like.
Despite my issues with Aliens: Fireteam Elite, it will hold me until the next team-based survival shooter. I don’t recommend picking this game up at full price, and I would caution against buying into the season pass this early.
Aliens: Fireteam gets a 5/10
Online works fine
A fair price tag for the standard edition
Audio needs work
The class system is one of the worst I have ever seen
Little effort was put into the small things, like making NPCs’ mouths move when they speak.
Locking hoard mode behind completing the story mode
Concrete Genie is an action-adventure game developed by Pixelopus: Concrete Genie came out October 8, 2019, and if you haven’t played it yet, it’s time.
You play as Ash, an artist who has little to no friends at the start of the game: You will use his sketchbook and a special brush to bring Genies to life! All while bringing life back to a once beautiful town.
Concrete Genie is an action-adventure game with puzzles and platforming. As you traverse the various areas, you will slowly bring the light back to Denska. Denska has been polluted by darkness, and it’s up to you to fix it.
You play as Ash, who has a love for art. One day, while he is sketching, a group of bullies approach him and steal his sketchbook, ripping all of the pages out. After they ruin his book, he is sent on a cable car by force and arrives at the lighthouse.
Concrete Genie has a beautiful story; as you traverse the lighthouse, Luna gives you a task; she wants you to clear Denska of the pollution that has taken over.
As you go through the story, you discover more about the bullies and why they’re so mean to Ash. Concrete Genie does a good job making the “villains” of the story come alive. Although there is no excuse for how they treated Ash, they make up for it by the end of the game.
As you go through the game, you unlock different portions of Denska to explore and paint on! You can tag everything that Ash can reach, so long as the bullies don’t catch you! Each area has enough puzzles to make it last at least 20 minutes.
Concrete Genie does a fantastic job laying out the lore, setting the scene, and doing it all without you having to spend over 30 hours playing the game. Each area has a few puzzles and objects to climb on. Ash will need the Genies to access all areas, and they will ask you to draw pictures to make them happy!
You can find newspapers scattered around; this will be your primary way of finding lore in Concrete Genie: What happened in the past is not force-fed to you as you play the game. The story you’re given feels fresh, and each character is fleshed out enough to make them feel real.
As you play the game, you will be running away from, and later befriending, Zack, Beatrice, Froggie, Chuck, and Jane. Each bully has his/her backstory that you discover by making contact with them throughout the game.
Each character has a personality; you only see it for a short amount of time. After Ash learns about their backstories, he starts to feel sympathetic, a trait I love about Ash.
Concrete Genie uses the duelsense motion controls, and it uses it well. Once you start painting, you’ll be able to tilt the controller to make all kinds of pictures!
There are elements of parkour or platforming in the game as well! The platforming is done exceptionally well! It never felt unfair or unfun; eventually, you will have to touch the ground, but the game provides plenty of spaces where you can climb back up to the roofs! Climbing will be how you escape the bullies early in the game; you will also find pages floating around on rooftops!
Combat in the game is relatively simple, and you only see it at the end of the game. Your genies will provide you with different powers; red attacks help break red shields, and so on. It is simple because the focus on the game is not the combat.
Your genies get corrupted at the end of the game, and you must battle them to win them back. Ash makes a point in taming them again and not causing them harm.
Each mechanic is introduced when it’s needed and is not tossed in your face all at once. Even the combat tutorial is properly spaced out, and that makes the whole segment refreshing.
Concrete Genie is a beautiful game filled with characters that bring the world to life. A lack of feature creep makes the game easy to digest and adds to the game’s replay value!
Each Genie has a cute personality, and you can interact with them in a few ways! You will be able to pat them, play with them, and draw for them to see their reactions. Some Genies are more cautious, and some are extremely curious: You can tell by their facial expressions thought the game.
The story is simple but beautiful. I only wish you got more time with the characters. Concrete Genie takes about 5-6 hours to beat, but you could spend hours painting and collecting pages. The runtime is not an issue because there is little to no filler in the game.
Each environment presents a different challenge, and as you traverse, you will find new things to look at! The sewer is my favorite area because you have the chance to make a dark area extremely colorful.
I experienced a couple of frame-rate drops playing on the PS5, but nothing that would take away from the experience. The motion controls are good, some of the best I’ve seen but still unresponsive in some areas. I had to turn them off because getting the angles right became a chore.
I would score Concrete Genie at an 8/10. The gameplay was refreshing, and it’s clear the developers knew what they wanted to do with this game. Tutorials are introduced smoothly, and each character has a bit of personality, even if you don’t get a lot of time with them. The segments with combat are simple enough to catch onto and never provide too much of a challenge; the end boss fight is a fair experience.
If you haven’t played Concrete Genie, it’s time to stop reading this and do it.