We’re starting the week with a look at four titles that were recently ported to new systems. Here’s a look at the PlayStation versions of Fort Triumph, Tetragon, Mask of Mists and Black Witch VR.
Fort Triumph review (PS4)
Developed by CookieByte Entertainment and published by All In Games, Fort Triumph blends the turn-based gameplay of XCOM with the fantasy worlds of games like Warcraft and Heroes of Might and Magic. It was previously released on Steam and is now available for consoles as well.
The game features a story-driven campaign that doesn’t mind poking fun at genre tropes, though this is also clearly a game by a smaller team where narrative development isn’t as polished or audiovisually detailed as it is in big budget RPG productions – even though the humor here is definitely appreciated. Here, the emphasis is on gameplay, which unfolds over the course of a lengthy campaign or in the game’s skirmish mode.
Traveling with a party of three to five adventurers, your heroes fall into familiar fantasy categories – from the melee-oriented barbarian to the long distance focus of the archers, with room for characters that employ magic as well. You can level each one of them up as well, bringing some character development into the mix that is also going to be familiar if you know your genre history.
The maps in which combat takes place in Fort Triumph are randomly generated, but while we often prefer developer-created maps because they have built-in options for tactics, the mechanics here work quite well. Parts of the terrain can be destroyed, meaning cover can be there one turn but might be lost in the next – leaving you exposed. Visually this is all rendered in a Torchlight-like environment with colorful graphics and a few movement/battle animations, but as with the story it won’t be the visuals that will win you over.
The campaign has a nice diverse mix of objectives, and there’s an overworld in which you can see your progress as you capture parts of the world and engage in a bit of city building. It makes for a lengthy and entertaining campaign that, considering the price, is hard to ignore if you enjoy turn-based RPGs – especially if you’ve been looking for another one in the fantasy genre.
Tetragon review (PS4)
The odds are that for any puzzle game that starts with “Tetr”, gamers everywhere are going to think in one particular direction. Tetragon, which originally launched as a mobile title, isn’t about stacking blocks though – it’s a puzzle platformer developed by Cafundo Estudio Criativo Eireli and has now been brought to a range of new platforms by Buka Entertainment.
While the developers mention games like The Room, The Witness and The Talos Principle as sources of inspiration, we felt the game has much more in common with indie 2D puzzlers like Blackhole and In Between than those 3D puzzle game benchmarks. And that’s not a bad thing, because manipulating gravity is a proven concept and works well in Tetragon.
There’s a story here too, one where you’re a lumberjack looking for your son – though it won’t surprise anyone that Tetragon is really all about puzzles despite a few still that introduce us to the main character and his motivation for going through them. The name Tetragon actually refers to the game world rather than any Tetris-like mechanics, and your job is to restore the world by collecting pieces of a shattered magical jewel.
Puzzles are divided into three regions for a total of over 40 challenges, most of which revolve around your ability to use “TetraGen” to spin the world and change the flow of gravity – also giving you new avenues to explore on your way to the level’s exit. It’ll feel familiar if you enjoy 2D indie puzzle games on Steam, but it’s a rare sight to see them coming to consoles so we enjoyed our time with the game.
Mask of Mists review (PS4)
Originally developed by 9 Eyes Game Studio for a Steam release in 2020, Mask of Mists was recently ported to consoles by Sometimes You – a name that should definitely ring a bell in the porting community.
The game itself is an action adventure/RPG with a fantasy setting in which you set out to find a missing person, running into magic, monsters and stereotypical fantasy locations like ancient ruins and magical caverns. It’s definitely an indie take on the genre with its simplified (colorful and cartoon-like) visuals, but it’ll feel like a warm bath those used to playing bigger fantasy games.
In additional to combat with the (mostly fauna-based) enemies on Mask of Mists, you’ll also have to solve the occasional puzzle while trying to complete your main quest – most of these are well-designed and provide nice breaks without leading to frustration in a story campaign that’s only about five hours long.
That playtime could have been a little shorter as well, if it weren’t for the lack of an in-game map and the need to backtrack between locations. Mask of Mists would have benefitted from tighter gameplay design because this often results in a short trek where there’s little to do because enemies have already been defeated and there’s nothing new story-wise, but it doesn’t keep the game from being an entertaining journey in a fantasy world that’s available at a budget price point.
Blair Witch VR on PSVR
Back into the woods we go – again. Blair Witch VR was originally launched (and reviewed) for the Quest, and very recently received a PC port which improved the game in a number of ways. Chief among these were improved audiovisuals, as well as a few more minor gameplay tweaks. Now the game has also landed on other platforms, including PSVR, which hasn’t exactly been overflowing with horror game as of late. Is this a port worth picking up?
For PSVR titles, answering that question will always focus on how well the game held up visually, and how well the developers have dealt with the limitations of the system’s controllers. In this case, both have been handled quite well. We were expecting the visuals to take a hit (as they did in Layers of Fear), but perhaps additional experience on the developer’s end and/or the fact that Blair Witch is a visually darker game helped in this regard. The forest feels as lush as it did in the PC-based version, and makes effective use of limited visibility and fog to create a sense of dread and being lost. The interiors in the later parts of the game aren’t as convincing, but Blair Witch VR is a visually solid horror experience on PSVR.
Controls are limited to Move controllers, so obviously we were wondering how they would deal with the lack of thumbsticks as we were dreading some kind of teleportation mechanics that would ruin the immersion. Luckily, the developers managed to include a whole range of movement and comfort options, with your main choice being to either move around by following your gaze or using one Move controller’s buttons for movement. Both work well, and if you need/enjoy comfort options like click turning you can enable those as too. All this makes Blair Witch VR on PlayStation VR a solid port for those who weren’t able to check the game on a different headset.