What games are on sale? Which ones should you buy? What are the latest trends in gaming? What’s coming next week? What’s happening this week? There are a lot of gaming sites out there, however, most of them don’t really offer a great way to stay up to date with the latest and greatest games. That’s where we come in! Every Friday, I’ll be sending out a newsletter to give you the scoop on some of the hottest games, all for free!

This Week In Video Games is a new series that I’ll be running on my blog. I’ll pick one game for each hour of each days of the week, and give a short review on it. It’s a new series that’s been making its rounds on the Twittersphere, and I’m excited to see how it evolves.

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Strangeland is a strange and surprising new adventure from Wormwood Studios and Wadjet Eye Games, in which you navigate through a creepy fair as you try to solve the mystery of a golden-haired woman and find out why you are trapped in the depths of what seems to be a living nightmare. When you start the game, you arrive at an obscure carnival known as Strangeland. You start out in a straitjacket, and the only direction you can go is down, where you encounter a grotesque clown face that wants to tell bad jokes that don’t seem to have any point to them. As you enter the main roof, you see a blonde woman being thrown into a fountain, and you feel like you’re caught in a cycle, and your punishment is to see this happen over and over again. The twisted underworld is ruled by a mysterious Black Thing, a seemingly evil force. The Black Thing not only torments you, but also systematically works its way through all the other characters you come into contact with, killing them off one by one. Your task is to find out why you are here, where you are, and solve the mystery of the blonde woman. word-image-4562 Wormwood talks about the game: Forge an iron blade, stolen from the mouth of a dog, and sharpen it with anger and sorrow; pluck out the eye of a ten-legged teratoma; and ride a giant cicada to the brink of oblivion…… In the midst of this madness, death cannot possess you, and you will use this elusive immortality to gain an advantage over your enemies. The gameplay is in a classic point-and-click adventure style. However, the puzzles are non-linear and have multiple solutions, which encourages multiple plays. There are many strange and surprising characters, including a blind man who sits under a tree, a prankster clown who sits above the entrance to the summit, Three-Eyes (a giant oven that helps you make things), and three hikers. The gameplay follows the pattern of previous point-and-click adventure games, where you have to interview actors, collect items, and combine them to eventually try to escape from the hell you find yourself in. Death is used as an interesting mechanism in the game. Death doesn’t behave like in the normal world, it can sometimes give clues about the path to follow. You’ll also be killed more than once in the Strange Land if a dark creature hangs around, and a wrong turn to the pit can also lead to a miserable end. No matter, death brings you back to the beginning of the game with a full inventory. The puzzles are good, and there are some interesting innovations here. At the beginning of the game there is a shooting range that requires quick mouse input, as well as throwing stones at a crow for the blind man to make work orders. The puzzles are not too difficult, although I did get stuck in a couple of instances. There’s a smart system with a pay phone. If you turn 0, you get a little hint about where to go next. The game doesn’t tell you exactly what to do, but gently nudges you in the right direction. Sometimes when I play adventure games like this, I feel incredibly stupid when I get stuck on a seemingly simple puzzle, so this is a good feature to keep things going. word-image-4563 The graphics and sound are a special feature of the game. It’s a disturbing game from the start, the visuals are twisted and nasty (but beautiful at the same time). As in other popular games, the main characters are beautifully rendered pixel art, superimposed on a two-dimensional environment. The game also has episodes that provide context. As the game progresses, the environment becomes even more creepy and shocking. I won’t give away what happens, but Strangeland turns into something even more horrific than the original design. It’s something to enjoy and look forward to, but it’s also pretty shocking. The sound design complements the grotesque images very well. The artwork and lyrics make you a little suspicious, then comes the sound to hit you on the ears with an audio design that really freaks you out. Wormwood Studios and Wadjet Eye Games have previously collaborated on Primordia, and if you’re a fan of the genre, you’re probably familiar with their work. Wormwood published an excellent article about what inspired them to create Strangeland: Mervyn Peake, Ray Bradbury, Francisco Goya, The Prisoner, Eraserhead, and even the iconic video games Sanitarium and Weird Dreams. The team behind the game is one of the best in the business, and it shows in the execution of Strangeland. Strangeland has a developer comment feature and a comment mode, which is great if you play the game multiple times and want the team to explain everything as you go along. The author, Mark Yohalem, said it was a map from the wonder and fear of my childhood to responsibility, regret and acceptance as an adult, and that the artist put a lot of himself into it. So the developer’s commentary helps explain many of the hidden and literal meanings of the game. The finished product shows that someone has put their heart and soul into it. Strangeland is a great adventure, plus it’s not very long – about 5 hours. There’s horror, suspense, but also comedy, and when you combine that with gorgeous visuals and creepy music, you get a great package. If you like point and click adventure games, you will like this game. If you’re not a fan of the genre, I still recommend reading this book because it’s a fantastically written story. It’s not too expensive, and it’s a short, self-contained story that you can finish in a weekend, and you get a very memorable gaming experience. word-image-4564 Developer: Wormwood Studios Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games Platforms : PC via Steam, GOG Release date: 25. May 2021

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