Reviews: Escape Rosecliff Island (PC); Toki Tori (PC); Eldritch (PC)

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By: Steve Zachmann, contributor

Escape Rosecliff Island

I’m not even sure how I came to own this game, or what I’ve done to find myself in the predicament of actually having to play it.  Let’s be clear up front, Escape Rosecliff Island is not a good game.  It’s barely even a game, really.  That might be too harsh I suppose, but I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to hidden object games, which is what this is.  If you’re not already aware, a hidden object game is pretty much exactly what you’d expect.  It’s a game where you get a static image filled small objects and you have to click on them to “find” them.  Your goal is to find all of the items listed at the bottom of the screen.  It’s as boring as you might imagine…and yet, I played it for almost two hours.

I can’t tell you exactly how this came to happen, but I believe it’s some form of hypnosis.  I say that Escape Rosecliff Island is bad because I don’t really care for what it is, but the fact remains that it engaged me enough to play it for way longer than I expected.  I can see a use for these type of games for people that have cognitive impairments like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  They might also be useful for anyone interested in improving their cognitive function as these games are good memory trainers.  Still, after every level I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing with myself, and when I finally couldn’t take it anymore I exited out of the game and immediately uninstalled it.  Thanks for the fun Escape Rosecliff Island, goodbye.

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Toki Tori

Toki Tori is a game that succeeded very quickly in making me feel really stupid.  It only took eleven levels, to be exact.  It’s a puzzle game wherein you play a bird attempting to collect their eggs while using different abilities to navigate a level (read: puzzle).  It seems like a fine puzzler, but after about 45 minutes, I had completely had my fill of it.  Sometimes you run across a game that just doesn’t resonate with you at all, and I suppose that was Toki Tori, for me.  I’m sure Toki Tori isn’t a bad game.  It has good reviews so it must connect with some people.  In fact, it may very well have connected with me on some other day.

This brings me to a realization about this whole backlog project.  It’s challenging to play these games so randomly because you never know what you’re going to end up with.  If you’re caught off guard by a game that you’re simply not prepared to dive into, you’re more likely to have a bad time with it.  That might be all that was wrong with my experience with Toki Tori; I wasn’t really feeling like playing a puzzle game that day.  I’m going to continue the format as-is for now, but if I find that there are too many games that I should be enjoying but am not, then maybe I’ll go back and reformat the structure such that I play games when it feels right to play them.  I like idea of randomly choosing games though, so I’m going to stick it out a bit longer.

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Eldtritch

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Eldritch is an interesting little game.  Part Minecraft, part Resident Evil, part Spelunky, it feels like an odd mix of genres.  The gameplay loop goes about like this…  You wake up in a strange library wherein some of the books have magical symbols that, upon reading, transport you to new areas.  Inspired by Lovecraftian style horror, these new areas are filled with all manner of creepy enemies.  Eldritch purports to have “roguelike elements”, and it certainly does.  These magical areas are all randomly generated each time you start a new game, and you’ll start plenty of new games because like any good roguelike, Eldritch is pretty hard and doesn’t come with a lot of hand holding or explanation.

I definitely played enough Eldritch to understand what it is, and I feel like the game is actually pretty good.  My problem with games that lean into the roguelike aspects is that they’re very time consuming.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the experience, but it takes a very long time really get a feel for what’s going on in the game world (unless you resort to FAQs and such).  Games like Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac are both rich experiences that I simply don’t care to spend enough time to understand.  For me, I believe Eldritch falls into this category, although I think I’d be more willing to spend time with Eldritch than either of those other games.

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