It’s just not about new games that are coming out – this past week we’ve also seen a couple of interesting ports of existing titles as well as DLC releases. We check out a trio of them with Yupitergrad for the Quest, Silver Chains for PlayStation 4 and the first DLC content drop for Immortals Fenyx Rising.
Yupitergrad is out now for the Oculus Quest
Yupitergrad was released for PC-based headsets about half a year ago, but now there’s a version native to the Oculus Quest as well. The good news is that, in addition to it being a competent port, it also comes with a brand new gameplay mode!
For some reason, when I first heard about Yupitergrad, I had something a bit like Portal in mind. Sci-fi, puzzles, an abandoned facility – it’s easy to see where that came from. Instead, the game is a blend of Spider-Man, Tarzan, Indiana Jones and an over the top caricature version of Cold War-era Russia and its ambitions in space. That certainly surprised me.
For some reason, the space station you’re working on is empty and filled with deadly traps that you have to navigate in order to complete the two to three hour campaign. As such, the game is much more about momentum and motion controls than it is about puzzles. Many of the “puzzles” are actions you perform in a certain sequence, often at speed, so if a more cerebral challenge is more your thing then Yupitergrad is probably not your game.
It is, however, a lot of fun if you enjoy the combination of motion controls and VR, as the unlimited range plunger guns you have provide plenty of ways to reel yourself in, swing over and around obstacles and narrowly escape death. You can even pull yourself forward at the last second to increase speed, and you also have access to thrusters that even work when you’re underwater.
The cell-shaded visuals work great on the Quest, and ensure that the framerate stays solid and can generate that sense of momentum and speed that’s essential to a game like this. The Quest version also launched alongside a big content update that features 20 time trial-type levels for players to try out their swinging skills, so it’s a great moment to jump (and swing) in if you didn’t get Yupitergrad when it first came out.
Silver Chains is out now for the PlayStation 4
Silver Chains is another one of those games that was previously released on other platforms, including other consoles, but was only just released for the PlayStation platform with a PS4 version that also runs on a PS5. Headup is publishing it, after Crashed Heads Games developed it.
With this being a smaller production, it makes sense for Silver Chains to not be released alongside games like Little Hope, Amnesia: Rebirth, Visage or even Remothered: Broken Porcelain during the Halloween season. It would have gotten snowed under and forgotten, so a January release is a sensible choice in that regard. Silver Chains is a game for people who enjoy horror games but have run out of options – it’s not awful, but not great either.
The story revolves around your typical haunted mansion in the middle of nowhere, and although it’s exciting to find out more and more about the horrible things that happened there over time, the narrative isn’t fleshed out in terms of giving the player a reason why you’re actually there. Did your car break down? If so, why is exploring this house your best course of action? While the supernatural elements of the story are well done, the game could have been better grounded in reality.
Gameplay-wise, exploration and narrative development are stronger elements than those of pure horror. The game makes use of jump scares, which isn’t a bad thing, but quite a few of them are signposted. In those cases, you’ll see a hiding spot (a closet), which is a pretty good sign that you’re about to need to run away and hide – which takes the dread out of the situation to a large degree. Exploring and overcoming obstacles works better in that sense, with progression through the story that’s managed by puzzles you need to overcome. There’s a fair bit of hunting for items all over the house, but if the horror element was better this would only have added to the suspense.
Luckily, the general mood and lighting does exactly that. For an indie game, Silver Chains does a great job at painting a convincing horror atmosphere that fits in well alongside some of the bigger budget productions within the genre, and the game runs well on a PlayStation 4 Pro too. It’s certainly no Resident Evil, but if you have a horror itch that needs scratching on the PS4 or PS5 then Silver Chains is here now.
Immortals Fenyx Rising gets its first piece of DLC
Ubisoft has just released the first helping of DLC content for Immortals Fenyx Rising, which perhaps didn’t get the attention that bigger releases got when it launched but which was quite well received and a solid amalgamation of genres, styles and themes that ultimately resulted in something that was unique enough to stand on its own legs. Not as flashy as Ubisoft’s Valhalla perhaps, but certainly worth playing and not as overwhelmingly long either.
The game just got a little longer though, with the release of A New God, which is the first DLC story expansion for the game. It’s part of the season pass, but if you didn’t get that upon launch you can also buy it as a standalone package. In it, the goal is to get to the Greek Pantheon, and a series of trails stand in your way.
The structure of A New God mixes up the base game by doing away with the open world elements and instead focusing on more confined challenges – building on the puzzle solving elements of the core campaign even though there’s still a bit of fighting involved. It works well, especially because you get a couple of new skills at your disposal which means that puzzles aren’t just rehashes of what the original game gave players.
Most new abilities involve physics of some kind, like magnetism. While it’s great fun to use the abilities to overcome challenges, sometimes the controls (or physics) can be a bit to unwieldy so you might get a different outcome than you were hoping for. Those problems aren’t new, but they certainly stand out more when the focus is on these challenges.
Despite being focused around a series of challenges, A New God also progresses the story and gives you new abilities to use – both of which set up Immortals Fenyx Rising for more post-release content that is to come. This is a nice DLC addon for fans of the game – it’s a little light on story content but it expands on the base game with new abilities that open op the game to more surprises in future content. Can’t wait.