With Wildcat Gun Machine, Unpacking and the Ragnarök DLC for Zombie Army 4: Dead War, we’re looking at three very different releases today. Read on to find out more.
Wildcat Gun Machine review (PS4)
Daedalic Entertainment has certainly undergone quite a lot of changes in recent years. This is true on an organizational level, but definitely also in terms of the games they’re releasing. We used to know Daedalic as a company with a strong focus on classic narrative-driven adventure games, but Wildcat Gun Machine is pretty far removed from that. Developed by Chunkybox Games, it’s a twin stick shooter/bullet hell/dungeon crawler, and it’s out now for all major systems.
We weren’t joking when we mentioned that Wildcat Gun Machine is quite different from those classic narrative-driven adventures either – this game has pretty much zero narrative to it, and we’re not getting told much about the characters either. Even classic arcade shooters like Smash TV had more of a premise to it, so the lack of a reason for being feels like a missed opportunity here.
Luckily, the gameplay itself is solid if a tad generic in nature. You’ll spend your time getting through several rooms inside dungeons from an isometric point of view, battling enemies until you acquire keys that open the next passageway. Here, you might encounter a mid-level boss or an even more challenging boss fight – a confrontation that gets easier when you spend loot (which comes in the shape of bones!) on upgrades for your weapons and abilities.
There’s a good selection of weapons for you to (dual) wield as well, with a primary blaster that never runs out of ammo (though you can select different shot types) and a whole arsenal of secondary weapons for you to acquire and switch between. You can also dodge by dashing out of the way, but this will likely not become part of your playstyle until the difficulty ramps up a bit later on – unless you want to use them to evade some of the environmental hazards in the dungeons (which is a risky choice).
An especially explosive attack mode comes in the shape of Gun Machine, a mech-like transformation that you can activate when the matching meter is fully charged. It renders you invulnerable for a bit, and really lets you clean house (or overwhelm a boss) while it lasts. Combined with the diverse arsenal of weapons, this makes for a fun (though somewhat generic) gameplay loop.
Visually, Wildcat Gun Machine reminded us of NIS America’s Yomawari: Night Alone with its anime-like visuals and point of view – though with a strong sci-fi touch to it all. Certainly a bit different from the norm within the genre, and combined with solid gameplay it’s worth a playthrough. Don’t expect the game to leave a long-lasting impression though – the lack of memorable character backgrounds and story progression doesn’t help it there.
Unpacking review (PS4)
When we saw all the critical acclaim for Witch Beam’s Unpacking when it launched last year, we were hoping that publisher Humble Games was considering a PlayStation version as well. Part narrative-driven, part zen experience, it’s a unique title that stood out among a long list of far more generic releases. And just as we thought it wasn’t going to happen, a port for the PS4 was announced – which is out right now.
Cynics will probably lament Unpacking’s lack of traditional gameplay or in-depth puzzle mechanics, and to a degree they’d be right. There are no physics to keep into account, there’s very little progression to the mechanics, and not a lot in the way of narrative development either. Keep an open mind, however, and there’s a lot to unpack here.
On a surface level, all you do is unpack moving boxes. Take items out one by one, and place them in a logical place within the level you’re in. It seems straightforward enough, with few limitations – objects you placed in an invalid spot will light up so you can pick them out easily and move them. Get it right, and you move on to the next location, where the process begins anew.
Later locations are bigger, and feature more rooms. The interesting thing is that locations also represent stages in the life of an unfamiliar protagonist. The boxes you’re unpacking always belong to the same person, and through the stuff that keeps coming back for every move you discover what and who is dear to them – just like how new additions tells you about life choices that were made since the last move.
There’s some freedom in where you place objects so no two playthroughs will be exactly alike, but because the flow and “narrative” are subjective (you give your own meaning to what you see and unbox) it’s likely that things won’t feel any different for you if you chose to play a second time. That first time is pretty memorable though, and will provide you with one of the more unique gameplay experiences you can find out there.
Ragnarök Comes To Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Rebellion is getting ready to release a brand new Sniper Elite game very soon, but before that happens we’re getting one final piece of DLC content for their undead-themed spin-off Zombie Army 4: Dead War. The Ragnarök Campaign Pack can be seen as “season 4” for the game, though there are a few differences.
The biggest ones? Price and scope. This pack comes in at a much cheaper price point, but for that you also receive less content than what you get in the first three season packs. Ragnarök features two additional story-driven campaign missions while other packs had three, and the pack also has fewer cosmetic DLC items (like character skins). If you’re mainly interested in the campaign content, then this is a relatively good deal – costing less than half of what the season packs were.
What you get for your money is a two-part campaign in which you try to take down Project Ragnarök, drawing the story of Zombie Army 4 to a close. The gameplay itself is comparable to that of previous DLC missions, as you’d expect, though these missions aren’t the longest ones you’ll play – we clocked our campaign at just a fraction over two hours long, which included both parts of Ragnarök.
If you’re been enjoying Zombie Army 4 then this is an essential playthrough that lets you wrap up the experience before starting with Sniper Elite 4, though if you haven’t played the game yet then you might want to hold out for a possible Ultimate or Complete edition. Over the past few years, Rebellion has released hundreds of Dollars worth of content for this game, so if you haven’t jumped aboard yet then you might want to wait a little longer. Ragnarök is still as fun as Zombie Army 4 was upon release though, and completes what is now a massive amount of content you can play for it.
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