Figment – Linux, Mac OS X 10.12, and Windows 10 Game Compatibility

Figment Title Screen
Figment Title Screen

System Requirements

Linux
Operating System: Ubuntu 16.04 or greater
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500 at 3.3 GHz, AMD FX 6120 at 3.6 GHz, or greater
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, Nvidia GeForce GT 750M, Radeon HD5850, or greater
Hard Disk: 3 GB

Mac OS X
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.2 or greater
Processor: Intel Core i5 at 3.3 GHz or greater
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Video: Radeon R9 M290X or greater
Hard Disk: 3 GB

Windows
Operating System: Windows 10 or greater
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500 at 3.3 GHz, AMD FX 6120 at 3.6 GHz, or greater
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, Nvidia GeForce GT 750M, Radeon HD5850, or greater
Hard Disk: 3 GB
Sound: DirectX 11 compatible sound card

Playstation 3, Playstation 4, XBox 360, Logitech F710, and Logitech F310 game controllers are supported.

Figment – Linux, Mac OS X 10.12, and Windows 10 Game First Impressions

Figment Title Screen
Figment Title Screen

Figment is an action adventure game with puzzles, released in 2017. It was developed and published by Bedtime Digital Games. In Figment you play as Dusty who is on an epic quest to restore the health of the mind he inhabits.

Figment begins with a family in a car driving through a stormy night. It sounds like a daughter in the back of the car is taunting her dad while he’s trying to focus on the road. Then out of nowhere the father yells, “Oh crap!” foreshadowing the impending crash that takes place immediately thereafter.

But my scrapbook!
But my scrapbook!

After the crash scene fades out, another scene fades in where Piper, a friendly flying companion, comes to wake Dusty up and get him ready. It seems Dusty is a protector and adventurer that has gotten rusty with disuse. He holds on to his scrapbook, likely filled with memories of adventures past, and is preparing to make himself an intoxicating beverage to enjoy.

While Dusty is away collecting ice for his beverage, a nightmare comes to steal his scrapbook. He begins to wake up to the fact that things are not all right with the mind, as Piper had been trying to tell him. Dusty then begins his quest to get his scrapbook back.

Consume Endurance Neurons to replenish health.
Consume Endurance Neurons to replenish health.

I’m not doing appropriate justice by my description of the narrative. Playing Figment made me realistically feel and experience emotions that few games ever have. With many games I sympathize with the characters as they make their way through the story, but with Figment the voice acting and body language of the characters combined with the musical score stirred serious empathy within me.

I felt genuinely hurt that Dusty had his scrapbook stolen and was treated unfairly. I felt genuinely bad for the nightmare who stole the scrapbook telling Dusty, “Eventually, we all lose everything!” to justify his actions. Piper makes me want to do what I can to help fix things when she nervously states, “Something’s totally messed up in the mind!”

Collect Endorphins to level up your hit points.
Collect Endorphins to level up your hit points.

My wife’s aunt suffered a terrible car wreck a few years ago that left her with a traumatic brain injury. For many months after the accident it was frustrating to sit by her bed side and see her reliving nightmares and grasping at incomplete overwhelming thoughts while we could do little to help. Figment puts you right there inside a mind, struggling for survival, and makes you feel determined to set things right.

The combat is typical hack and slash. Dusty has a life bar, and he can take only so many hits before he must respawn at the nearest checkpoint. The life bar may be replenished using Endurance Neurons, green glowing balls that spin around trees throughout Figment’s game world. Picking up enough Endorphins will extend your life bar, providing you an extra hit point.

Dusty must fight some diseased creatures like these Barf Rodents here.
Dusty must fight some diseased creatures like these Barf Rodents here.

Dusty and Piper travel together through the mind to fight fear and sickness, stoke creativity, and recontain the nightmares into their proper place. As they journey they find memories they can use to piece together and recollect the person of the mind they inhabit. Dusty starts off as an uncaring jerk, but as he picks up more endorphins he begins to turn back into his former heroic self.

When I finished recording my first impressions play through, my wife asked me if I had fun playing. I sat for a second and thought about it and then answered honestly, no. Thus far Figment has been a dramatic, poetic, artistic, incredible game steeped in symbolism, but not really fun.

Fighting the first nightmare.
Fighting the first nightmare.

I plan to continue playing Figment till I complete it. There seems to be so much depth to the story that I want to see how it turns out. The character development, musical score, and vivid artistry combine to make an epic such that it feels I have a duty to see the story through to its conclusion. While it may not be “fun,” there’s no game that has grabbed so much of my attention lately as Figment has. In many ways Figment goes beyond fun to provide a moving experience very unique from any other game I have played thus far.

Splasher – Linux, Mac OS X 10.12, and Windows 10 Game Compatibility

Splasher Title Screen
Splasher Title Screen

System Requirements

Linux
Operating System: Ubuntu 12.04 or greater, 64-bit only
Video: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series or greater
Hard Disk: 1.3 GB

Mac OS X
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.8 or greater, 64-bit only
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Video: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series or greater
Hard Disk: 1.3 GB

Windows
Operating System: Windows 7 or greater, 64-bit only
Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 250 or greater
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Video: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series or greater
Sound: DirectX Version 9.0c compatible sound card
Hard Disk: 700 MB

Splasher – Linux, MacOS X 10.12, and Windows 10 Game First Impressions

Splasher Title Screen
Splasher Title Screen

Splasher is a two-dimensional puzzle platformer released in 2017. It was developed by Splashteam and published by Playdius. Gameplay reminds me greatly of Jazz Jackrabbit 2 and Super Meat Boy.

Splasher begins with your main purple-haired character scrubbing the floors at Ink Corp – very similar to the plot of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. While he’s cleaning he happens to peer into a room where experiments are being done. Inside the room a mad doctor is injecting one of his fellow cleaning technicians with a substance that turns them into a potato. Scared by the scenario unfolding in front of them, your main character understandably gets the heck out of there and level one begins.

Red Ink is sticky and provides gravity.
Red Ink is sticky and provides gravity.

The first level introduces the controls and serves as a basic tutorial on how to play the game. Splasher is the kind of platformer where you have great control in moving your character mid-flight. The character moves fast and the platforms and character seem small in comparison to other platformers I have played. This made the controls take a little getting used to.

After completing the first level, the player is transported to an overworld map where they may enter the next level or go back and replay a previous level. It is possible to do a speed run on previously played levels to beat your previous time. By examining the speed run mechanic, it appears there are 22 levels in Splasher.

Yellow Ink makes you hop.
Yellow Ink makes you hop.

Through the first three levels that I have played, I have been able to deduce that there are two types of ink. Red ink sticks you to the surface it’s on and provides gravity for you to walk across when on a ceiling or wall. Yellow ink makes you bounce around like you’re dancing with flubber on your feet. Water can be used to clean ink off of surfaces.

The player first receives a water gun. Eventually it appears the player receives the ability to shoot red and yellow ink from their gun, but I was not able to unlock this ability within the first three levels. Shooting potato creatures with water makes them explode and helps the player progress.

Get 700 yellow to free a friend.
Get 700 yellow to free a friend.

The player receives a yellow substance from eliminating enemies from the game. If you can accumulate 700 units of the yellow stuff you can free your comrade locked in the cage at the end of the level. Similar to Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, you can rescue or “accidentally” kill fellow Ink Corp employees as you are working your way through each level.

The specialty Splasher brings to gaming is its fast paced puzzles that must be solved for the player to progress. Checkpoints are available between each puzzle within a level so the player isn’t forced too far back when they fail. However, it is clear the greatest satisfaction Splasher offers is in getting good enough to jump from puzzle to puzzle completing the level in the shortest time possible while achieving the greatest score.

Level Selection Overworld
Level Selection Overworld

Splasher appears to be a decent game for puzzle platformer speed run enthusiasts who enjoy a challenge and love competing against their past scores. Given that Splasher is a single player game, I am surprised I didn’t encounter an online leader board so individual players may see where they rank in worldwide rankings. It feels ridiculous for me to continue trying to beat my own score, but working my way up a rank and knowing I am Xth out of Y players worldwide pushes me to keep trying to get better.

A Story About My Uncle – Linux, Mac OS X 10.9, and Windows 8 Game Compatibility

A Story About My Uncle Title Screen
A Story About My Uncle Title Screen

System Requirements

Linux
Operating System: Ubuntu 12.04 or greater
Processor: 2.0 GHz Quad Core or greater
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Video: Graphics Accelerator with 512 MB VRAM
Hard Disk: 2 GB
Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

Mac OS X
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.8 or greater
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Hard Disk: 2 GB

Windows
Operating System: Windows 7 or greater
Processor: 2.0 GHz Quad Core or greater
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Video: DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card with 1024MB VRAM
Hard Disk: 2 GB
Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

A Story About My Uncle – Linux, Mac OS X 10.9, and Windows 8 Game First Impressions

A Story About My Uncle Title Screen

It has been some time since you saw your uncle Fred. He is the adventuring type, and once again he has gone off on an adventure, but this time for longer than usual. Because you are curious, you sneak into his house and see if you can find clues about where he’s gone. While there you find an adventure suit, just like the one he takes with him on all his adventures, but this is a special one sized just for you.

You try it on and play with the contraptions you find in his observatory. You find an interesting switch and flick it on. The dome of the observatory opens and you find yourself slingshotted out into the stars.

The Adventure Suit is waiting.
The Adventure Suit is waiting.

A Story About My Uncle is a first person action adventure game. It was developed by Gone North Games and published by Coffee Stain Studios. It was released in 2014.

I have seen reviews say A Story About My Uncle is a parkour simulator, but I think that is selling it short given its rich story that I’ll get to in a moment. The player can run and jump by holding down the shift key or hitting the space bar key respectively. The player’s adventure suit can do much more, such as an increased jump when holding down on the right mouse button.

This is what a save beacon looks like.
This is what a save beacon looks like.

The suit also has a powered grappling hook that can be used as a tractor beam to pull the player toward an object that is relatively close to their current position. Those who have used the grappling hook in Team Fortress mods or other first person shooters will likely understand the mechanic. If you haven’t, just think Spiderman.

An obstacle course of floating islands is provided for the player to cut their teeth on in their quest to finding their uncle Fred. It was great fun jumping from platform to platform in the strange jungle cave. I am typically afraid of heights, and I struggled with that fear when first playing A Story About My Uncle. But the game is very forgiving.

Just hook and weeeee!
Just hook and weeeee!

Your suit will protect you from all falls. The only thing dangerous concerning falling is falling into liquid since the suit is apparently too heavy to float. At least at the beginning of the game there are quick save beacons on nearly every surface. Just get in close proximity to one of these brightly lit beacons and your game will quick save. It’s easy to start over whenever you fail. In no time you’ll be able to bound around the game world handily enough to keep up with the story.

I had originally thought based on the vast empty world and the quiet and secluded ambiance that A Story About My Uncle would be a game in which I would find myself alone. The same adventure formulas used by classic adventures like the Myst and The Journeyman Project series seemed to be in play here.

Nice to meet you, Maddie.
Nice to meet you, Maddie.

I was playing in a dark room late at night with headphones on and out of no where I heard a voice say, “Hello, who are you? You’re not from here.” I just about jumped out of my seat. But as it turned out this friendly voice appeared to be attached to a friendly creature who knew my Uncle Fred. Maddie was her name and she gave me a tour around her village once I got there.

After her quick tour she went on ahead to talk to the village elder, Samuel, for me while I went to take a look around the village and Uncle Fred’s tent. There in the tent I saw that Maddie had drawn a picture for Uncle Fred. After finishing looking around the village I am supposed to meet Maddie and elder Samuel at his dwelling.

The village people.
The village people.

At this point I’m not sure what to expect next from A Story About My Uncle. It is following the predictable formulas I have come to expect from good adventure games while simultaneously throwing me quite a few curve balls thus far. The characters I have encountered seem charming and it feels so good to be swinging like Spiderman through a world of peaceful amphibious creatures. However there has to be some dark mysterious conflict somewhere. The story would not ultimately be compelling without it. Thus far the story telling has been too rich and the tension is building too great for there not to be some impending drama.

Awwww.

The player’s character is narrating in the future as a bedtime story to his daughter, so perhaps the story won’t get too out of hand. I’m really excited to see where it goes. In real life, I got sick with some kind of winter crud. Whenever this happens I usually pick out a simple turn-based Japanese role-playing game with a heavy but linear plot that I can mindlessly mash buttons to. It was refreshing to pick up A Story About My Uncle as it gave me the perfect mixture of fun non-complex action with a heavy dose of engaging story. I’m looking forward to reviewing this one once I have completed it soon. It would be great if there were some grappling hook universe out there I could escape to just to play video games in.

Epistory: Typing Chronicles – Linux, Mac OS X 10.11, and Windows 10 Game Compatibility

Epistory: Typing Chronicles Title Screen
Epistory: Typing Chronicles Title Screen

System Requirements

Linux
Operating System: Ubuntu 14.04 or greater
Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 or greater
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Video: ATI Radeon HD4850, GeForce GTX 295 or greater
Hard Disk: 1 GB

Mac OS X
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.9 or greater
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Hard Disk: 1 GB

Windows
Operating System: Windows XP or greater
Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 or greater
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Video: ATI Radeon HD4850, GeForce GTX 295 or greater
Hard Disk: 1 GB

Epistory: Typing Chronicles – Linux, Mac OS X 10.11, and Windows 10 Game First Impressions

Epistory: Typing Chronicles Title Screen
Epistory: Typing Chronicles Title Screen

Epistory: Typing Chronicles is a hack and slash role-playing typing (yes, role-playing and typing) game released in 2016. Epistory was developed by Fishing Cactus and published on the Steam platform by Plug In Digital. It was also published DRM free to Humble Bundle and is featured in their Humble Bundle Trove for Humble Bundle Monthly subscribers.

Excited about starting a new engaging adventure, I browsed through a list of games I had not yet played and saw the title Epistory.

“Epistory, like epic story?” I thought. “I should give this a try.”

I loaded up the game and saw the complete title, Epistory: Typing Chronicles.

“What? This is a typing game? Like Mario Teaches Typing or Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing? This is going to suck.”

I resolved to give it a chance and started the game. The game begins with narration.

Once upon a time. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

My head was in my hands. They took a line from a classic Charles Dickens novel without directly alluding to the meaning of that line in its context. This is going to be painful.

There was a girl. And she rode on the back of a great fox.

Ok, that’s better, could we have just started the story with that? Please tell me more.

Don't tell me what to do, I'll use the W, A, S, D keys if I want.
Don’t tell me what to do. I’ll use the W, A, S, D keys if I want.

Epistory begins with a young blonde girl mounted on a very red fox. It is recommended from the start to use the E, F, J, I keys for movement in lieu of the W, A, S, D keys typically used for movement in most PC games since they are closer to the center of the keyboard for quicker typing speed. I spent over an hour trying to get used to navigating with the E, F, J, and I keys. My biggest issue was that while the E, F, J, and I keys are recommended, the W, A, S, D keys are still mapped, so accidentally touching the D key (which is beneath the E key) sends you in the wrong direction. When I finally switched back to using W, A, S, and D for all of my movement, Epistory became so much easier to play, so I recommend using W, A, S, and D from the beginning.

First combat, first blood.
First combat, first blood.

Therefore, using the W, A, S, and D keys, the player navigates through the world as the story is told. Despite the rocky start, things only got better and more impressive from there. Epistory feels like any other role-playing game where you’re navigating through and exploring a fascinating, colorful world. When an obstacle is encountered, the player must type out a word to remove it. Whenever a word is typed, the player receives experience points. Chaining words in rapid succession, the player can score combos to get a greater number of experience points. Once experience points have been sufficiently accumulated, the player levels up and can choose how to spend skill points to unlock new player skills.

You will encounter real enemies on your quest with real words. Large words.
You will encounter real enemies on your quest with real words. Large words.

Pressing the space bar will show the player all of the words in their immediate area they can type for points. Whenever a word is successfully typed, a magic bolt is fired by the girl and her fox at the object that had the word. As the game progresses enemies will approach the player and can be defeated by successfully typing words to eliminate the deadly creatures.

Epistory reminds me of Diablo.
Epistory reminds me of Diablo.

One direct hit from a creature will kill the player, and Epistory does not start at the lowest vocabulary like other typing games do. The words employed have meaning in relation to their objects. All are real dictionary words and rarely repeated as the game progresses, keeping play fresh. This is not Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing or Mario Teaches Typing. No one is going to help you find home row in this world where evil roams. Playing Epistory is more like playing Diablo as a Ranger class, but instead of clicking the mouse button to shoot your bow, you are typing to do so. I am a software developer by trade and have been told I am an excellent typist, and I still find Epistory to be challenging. This is a good title for adults and those who feel their typing skills are up to the task.

Puzzles are well integrated and increase in difficulty.
Puzzles are well integrated and increase in difficulty.

I have played through the first two boss fights thus far and have actually really enjoyed myself. The story, though a little scattered, has gotten better and more engrossing. The music is superb, but not overwhelming. It sits in the background and supports the story, helping engross the player while not drawing too much attention to itself. I was pleased to find increasingly difficult puzzles to solve and in game art items to collect throughout the world. At times while playing I caught myself saying, “Wow!

Epistory Level Up screen.
Epistory Level Up screen.

Epistory is now on my shortlist of games I hope to complete in the near future because I want to see what happens next. It has thus far done a phenomenal job striking a balance between challenge and fun to compel me into wanting to continue to play. I don’t recall ever having played an edutainment title as enjoyable as Epistory: Typing Chronicles.

Owlboy – Compatibility

Owlboy Title Screen

Owlboy Title Screen

System Requirements

Linux

Operating System: Any Linux variant with glibc 2.15 or greater.
Processor: Any dual core processor 32-bit or 64-bit
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Video: OpenGL 3.0 or greater supported
Hard Disk: 600 MB required

SDL_GameController devices fully supported

macOS

Operating System: Mac OS X 10.7.5 or greater.
Processor: Any dual core processor 32-bit or 64-bit
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Video: OpenGL 3.0 or greater supported
Hard Disk: 600 MB required

SDL_GameController devices fully supported

Windows

Operating System: Windows 7 or greater
Processor: Any dual core processor 32-bit or 64-bit
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Video: DirectX 10 capable graphics card required. DirectX must be version 9.0c or greater.
Hard Disk: 600 MB required

Windows 10

This game was designed for and seems to work flawlessly in Windows 10.

Owlboy – Linux, Mac OS X 10.13, Windows 10 Game First Impressions

Owlboy Title Screen

Owlboy Title Screen

Owlboy is a puzzle, platformer, two-dimensional free movement shooter released in 2016 for the Steam platform. It was developed and published by D-Pad Studio. With a rich though linear storyline like you might find in a JRPG, Owlboy blends many genres and integrates game mechanics from many types of games.

Owlboy follows the adventures of a mute owl by the name of Otis. Given Otis’ disability, he is bullied by his peers and has a hard time living up to the standards of the town leaders. Overcoming disability and standing up to bullying may turn out to be a theme throughout the game.

The game begins with the player flying around the village of Vellie getting to know the villagers and serving as a look out for pirates. The villagers inform Otis of a troublemaker who has been plaguing the town. Eventually the player explores to the point where the bully owls frighten and intimidate Otis. The local tinkerer named Geddy comes to Otis’ defense and they team up to explore together. At that point Geddy becomes part of the player’s party and Otis can pick up Geddy to fly him around.

Pew Pew, Take that Troublemaker!

Pew Pew, Take that Troublemaker!

Otis flies around using the W, A, S, D keys. Geddy has a pea shooter than can be used to shoot at enemies and objects. It is particularly effective when shooting anything that is wooden. The player uses the mouse to aim and the left mouse button to fire. Most of the game controls are well labeled on screen whenever they may be used to interact with the environment.

After all of the villagers have been greeted and another owl has been saved from bullying, Otis and Geddy encounter the town troublemaker and chase him down to a cave where the real game begins. The first area is fairly simple to navigate and serves as a tutorial to help the player learn all of the game mechanics and get used to the style of puzzle solving that will be expected later.

Spin to Break Rock, Not Wood

Spin to Break Rock, Not Wood

Geddy can be picked up and flown around and is useful for firing on enemies. His pea shooter kills most enemies I have encountered thus far and annihilates dry old tree trunks. When not carrying Geddy, Otis can use a spin attack that can only stun enemies, but can also be used to break rocks which are impervious to the Geddy’s pea shooter. It is in this area that the player learns the strengths and weaknesses of each character’s abilities. Similar to Super Mario Bros. 2, health is boosted and restored in Owlboy by pulling produce out of the ground and eating it. Whenever I have encountered something growing out of the ground, I have found it best to go ahead and eat it to get a larger health bar.

The First Boss

The First Boss

The first boss wasn’t as easy as I tend to expect a boss to be immediately following a tutorial. There was a good deal of trial and error as I worked to determine which character needed to fire in what way in order to cause the boss damage. I don’t recall seeing any health bar for the boss to indicate how much damage was being dealt, nor was there any particular difference that I could detect in the flashes that came from shooting the boss with Geddy’s pea shooter and using Otis’ spin attack.

It eventually became clear however that the first boss had armor in the front that could not be penetrated. It that had to be kicked off using Otis’ spin attack from behind. Then once the armor was off, Otis’ had to be carrying Geddy in order to shoot the boss with the pea shooter. Once I figured out the pattern, defeating the boss wasn’t at all hard, but definitely provided evidence for an interesting game going forward.

Throwing Geddy into a stone wall. This is fun.

Throwing Geddy into a stone wall. This is fun.

Upon defeating the boss, the player gains an artifact that allows them to press a button to transport Geddy to Otis’ location from wherever he happens to be. This is an extremely helpful mechanic as I was worried about losing him throughout most of the game leading up to the first boss. In many games any companion received must usually be handled with care. In Owlboy it appears you can slam Geddy against any wall or throw him off cliffs with great comedic slapstick relief and he will come back with no issue. Geddy looks fragile, but he can take a real beating.

Once Otis and Geddy get back to town after chasing the troublemaker and defeating the boss, they find the village riddled with pirates. The pirates seize an artifact that will help them attack the capital of Advent and they leave to do so. Otis’ mentor Asio leaves with the village professor to warn those at the capital while Otis and Geddy are tasked with going to the ancient Owl Temple to discover if there is a way to defeat the pirate fleet with the old owl technology.

Sky Pirates!

Sky Pirates!

Owlboy’s graphic style is reminiscent of 32-bit platformers released in the mid to late 1990s. The parallax looks phenomenal. The sound is what I would expect and suites the story. In many ways Owlboy is a typical puzzle platformer that delivers everything I would expect in a predictable manner. But just when I guess where I think it is going, it has so far surprised me with a little twist here or extra unexpected depth there. This also seems to be a good title for adolescents. The content so far seems safe while the challenge provided is worthy and not too easy. The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB, so I’ll leave that to parents to decide. I certainly have enjoyed playing Owlboy thus far, and look forward to continuing the adventures of Otis and Geddy again soon.