We’re diving into three games that were recently ported over to (new) consoles, as we explore Adventures of Chris, Quintus and the Absent Truth and Of Bird and Cage in reviews of their PlayStation versions.
Adventures of Chris review (PS4)
Adventures of Chris launched back in 2020 on PCs and the Nintendo Switch, but Red Art Games has just launched versions for the PlayStation and Xbox and will also be distributing physical versions of the game. Time for a closer look at this indie platformer.
Set in the mid-1990s, a young boy called Chris gets kidnapped by a vampire kid with a tantrum who needs kids at his birthday party, but proceeds to turn all of his guests (or victims) into toys. In Chris’ cake, he gets turned into a balloon, which seems to go with his already somewhat chubby self – something the game is keen to point out in sometimes slightly mean ways. Chris’ balloon form can be put to good use though, as he can inflate and deflate himself to get to higher areas, and with this power he sets out to rescue the other children and defeat the vampire.
Despite a cartoon-like look, Adventures of Chris initially looks it will be a very basic game, mostly because of the very rough walking animation for the main character, whose arms barely move when he walks. Luckily, things get better after that rough first impression, especially when skills start getting added to your roster. The balloon skill stays important throughout the entire game, but over time you’ll also unlock additional abilities, and it pays to explore with/for them. Some of these even tie into a few (mostly easy) puzzles, which was another pleasant surprise.
Adventures of Chris isn’t the most challenging game out there, and beginners can even select an easy option with unlimited health. This is especially handy during boss fights, which are a little more difficult when playing in regular mode. The game’s still pretty forgiving about automatic checkpoints and respawns though, so you’ll likely make it to the end of this one without too much trouble.
Once you past that first impression with the awkward animation and mean jokes, Adventures of Chris is a fun little platformer. It’s also full of nostalgia, with a lot of references to videogame culture of the early to mid 1990s and a retro-inspired soundtrack. It feels like it doesn’t know if it wants to appeal to kids or to retro-minded adults, but if you fall somewhere in between those categories you’ll do fine with this one.
Quintus And The Absent Truth review (PS4)
Wreck Tangle Games launched Quintus and the Absent Truth on PCs in 2020, but thanks to Eastasiasoft we can now play this quirky indie puzzle adventure game on consoles as well. In it, you play as Alan Shaw and his pet mouse Quintus, who go on a quest to find Alan’s missing daughter. You’ll frequently switch between Alan and Quintus in order to overcome the game’s challenges. These include a fair share of puzzles, but also some scary moments, as the game has horror elements as well.
As you’d expect, the solution often lies in the fact that Alan can reach parts of a room that are up high, while Quintus has the ability to crawl into small places and finding items that Alan can’t get to. It’s a nice mechanic for a puzzle game and we’ve seen similar co-op mechanics before, but Quintus and the Absent Truth sets itself apart thanks to its presentation, which includes creepy horror tropes like ominous messages and visions.
And while the perspective changes are great in conveying differences in scale, the visual style is very minimalist and low in detail, which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The controls also have their rough edges and aren’t always as responsive as we’d like, so this is an indie game that could have used a bit of polish in those areas.
Quintus and the Absent Truth is certainly a unique little indie game though, and its developers weren’t afraid to do something quite different from the norm. If you like your indies quirky, this is one to check out.
Of Bird And Cage review (PS4)
Recent releases like The Artful Escape and A Musical Story showed us that the music genre in videogames can be more than just rhythm-based gameplay, so when All In Games announced they were bringing Capricia Productions’ “metal album in a story-driven game” to consoles we were interested in checking out Of Bird And Cage. It’s out now on PlayStation and Xbox – we played it on a PS4.
One thing that I dreaded a little prior to playing Of Bird And Cage was the “metal” part. It’s not a music genre I’m generally fond of, especially on the louder end of the spectrum, so I was pleasantly surprised by the game’s brand of symphonic metal. Not all of the tracks are especially great, but none of them were off-putting, and a handful are quite decent.
Narratively, the game is about a waitress with a drug problem, and it’s a pretty dark story with things like abuse, harassment and kidnapping. Definitely not a happy feel good story then, although that’s not what I would associate with metal anyway, so probably not a surprise. But while there’s definitely room for a darker narrative in gaming, the delivery in Of Bird And Cage is lacking, with mediocre writing and voice acting.
The music also doesn’t do much to draw you in, and serves mainly as a backdrop and not a gameplay mechanic. Unintentionally so, I might add, because the idea is that the songs “tell the story” while you’re performing tasks in the game – only both seem disconnected and when you’re focusing on gameplay the lyrics will often just pass you by. What doesn’t help is that the gameplay is rather clunky as well, so part of your focus is just because it doesn’t flow nicely and doesn’t let you enjoy the music – you regularly have to struggle with the controls instead. Combine that with lacklustre visuals, and you’d be better off exploring the games we mentioned in our intro.