Release roundup: Shores of Loci, Chefy-Chef & TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds

Shores of Loci, Chefy-Chef and TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds are three brand new games that were just released. Where Shores of Loci is a VR exclusive, Chefy-Chef and TEN have been released for nearly every major system out there. Here are our thoughts.

Shores of Loci review (Quest)

We reviewed VR puzzler Puzzling Places a while ago, and we liked its concept of 3D jigsaw puzzles so much that we’re glad that the similar Shores of Loci is providing another take on the subgenre. Developed by MikeTeevee and available now on Steam for PC-based headsets and the App Lab for Quest owners, it’s another example of the unique experiences that virtual reality can bring.

In Shores of Loci, the environments you put together aren’t based on real life locations and buildings, and instead provide you with an escape to fantastical realms that you can help construct. This is much more of a phased/tiered experience than in Puzzling Places though, which makes this a more accessible experience for those who get overwhelmed by jigsaw puzzles with tons of little pieces.

That may feel less rewarding for true jigsaw aficionados, but it makes for a nice casual approach that’s almost zen-like and will rarely (if ever) frustrate. It’s almost impossible to get stuck too, as there’s an in-game hint option that will show you which two available pieces can be stuck together. There are only a handful of puzzle environments available right now, but the tiered approach will make sure there’s a good amount of content for players.

One aspect where VR works really well for the game is when you complete a puzzle and it blows up to a life-sized world you can explore, rather than a diorama that you put just together. Shores of Loci provides you with worlds to build and immerse yourself in, and if you enjoy more relaxing VR experiences then this is well worth a look.

Chefy-Chef review (PS4)

Ratalaika’s new release Chefy-Chef is the latest game from BUG-Studio, who previously developed the FoxyLand games and the rather good 6souls. Chefy-Chef is another platformer, so we were curious to see how it’d turn out. The game is out for all major systems, and we played the PlayStation 4 version.

As with many budget platformers (with the exception of 6souls), Chefy-Chef has a story to it, but it does little more than serve as a premise. You play as a chef (how did you know?), and as you’re hoping to make delicious pineapple-radish salad you suddenly get transported to another world, where in each level you have to find the ingredients to said salad before escaping through the fridge that’s there. I guess you need some kind of narrative to have that make sense.

With 60 levels evenly divided between three lightly themed areas (a colder blue area and a green ‘jungle’ area – you get the idea), Chefy-Chef has a fairly generic look and feel to it, but features solid platforming gameplay with a few cool tricks you can apply. Your special abilities are all tied to (cooking) utensils, so that knife you have isn’t for stabbing but for sticking into walls, so you can climb them. You also have a hammer, which gives access to a high jump, while the frying pan acts as a teleportation device – throw it across a chasm, and you can teleport yourself to the other side.

You don’t get access to these abilities right away though – in each level you’re empty handed at the start and you have to grab the tools in order to be able to use them. This makes for some fun and creative level designs, and thanks to the game’s solid controls this one’s very enjoyable to play. You can also search out the hidden hamburgers in each level, which in turn can be used to unlock cosmetic upgrades.

Grabbing these burgers also ties into the game’s trophies, which (as per the Ratalaika norm) aren’t too demanding, and you’ll probably unlock the platinum trophy well before you reach the halfway point. There’s a good amount of gameplay here if you play the game all the way to the end though, and getting over three hours of gameplay for a super budget-friendly title like this is a great deal.

TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds review (PS4)

Ralalaika’s latest multiplatform release TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds was released on all platforms at once, and we checked it out on PlayStation. Because (unlike the norm for the publisher) there was no prior Steam release, we were very curious to see what developer The Bworg had crafted.

TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds is a challenging platformer that – visually and gameplay-wise, reminds us of Downwell and Zero Zero Zero Zero. The latter was also a Ratalaika title, and featured a similar premise with a large number of playable mini levels that followed each other in quick succession, and if you enjoyed that approach you’ll probably have fun with this one as well.

There’s a narrative core to the game, but you’ll quickly forget about it because of the game’s minimalist presentation and focus on gameplay – which is based on a simple structure. Each level (or floor) that you’re trying to get through has ten rooms, and each one has to be beaten within ten seconds – apart from the final boss room, which doesn’t have a time limit. With ten levels/floor to complete there’s a good amount of content here as well, but getting through it all is no walk in the part.

Death means going back to the very first room on the floor rather than restarting in the room you were in, so it can be pretty heartbreaking when you make a mistake in room eight or nine. With each room lasting ten seconds or less it’s always easy enough to dive back in though, making for a nice balance between frustration and wanting to give it one more try. Rooms can have very different objectives as well, which is inviting so you don’t lose that muscle memory while also avoiding repetitiveness.

TEN is a rather typical budget platformer in the hardcore subgenre, but it’s been designed well. There’s a solid soundtrack with different music for each floors, a good amount of different challenges in rooms and bosses, and a responsive control scheme. Ideal for two to three hours of platforming fun.

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