Release roundup: Evil Below, Planet Cube: Edge, 1993 Shenandoah & Wild West Dynasty

Spanning horror, action platforming, home computer-inspired arcade shooting and a life sim/RPG set in the Wild West, we’re looking at a diverse mix of recently released games today. Here’s a look at Evil Below, Planet Cube: Edge, 1993 Shenandoah and Wild West Dynasty.

Evil Below review (PS4)

We’ve been seeing a lot of horror productions from smaller development studios in the last year, and Gammera Nest and Fire Raven Studios’ Evil Below is the latest one to get a PlayStation release (alongside a simultaneous release on PC). It emphasizes stealth and even uses voice controls for a novel twist, so we couldn’t resist trying it out.

While we understand the boundaries and challenges for voice control when it comes to non-native speakers and accents, we love seeing it implemented – when it works well, it adds a layer of immersiveness that elevates it to something more than a simple gimmick. It’s especially effective in naturally immersive formats like VR, and in Evil Below, you can use your voice to help solve certain puzzles in the game. Granted, it’s a little gimmicky here, but it’s a cool and novel touch and we thought it worked well.


The story is fairly formulaic, and involves a mother who sets out to find her son who’s trapped in purgatory – which happens to be home to foul creatures as well. You should avoid them where possible, but there are combat sections in the game as well. These are, well, clunky and rather bland, and the game works best when you’re engaged with its puzzles and riddles and not fighting monstrosities.

Evil Below feels like a somewhat experimental take on the genre, and worth checking out if that tickles your interest. There are a few performance hiccups here and there though, so combined with lackluster combat you shouldn’t expect something as streamlined as a AAA horror experience.

Planet Cube: Edge review (PS4)

When we first saw footage of Planet Cube: Edge, it instantly felt like “what a Game Boy game would have looked like if they ever made an HD version of the handheld” – in a good way. The Firestoke-developed run and gun platformer is being published by Sunna Entertainment for PCs and consoles, and we tried it out on a PlayStation 4.

Edge is the protagonist of the game, which takes place on – you guessed it – Planet Cube. Invaders are after the planet’s resources, and it’s up to you to save the day across eight levels of gameplay. And while that doesn’t sound like it makes for a very lengthy game, these levels are all huge – the longest one taking us almost an hour to complete. But while that’s good from a value for money perspective, in some sections the game starts to drag a little, with scenarios (a level is made up out of multiple single screens) that resemble one another just a little too much.


The core gameplay is solid though, with responsive and easy to grasp controls and a difficulty curve that makes the second half of the game quite challenging. It’s nice and retro/arcade-like in the sense that the controls never get convoluted – for most of the game you’ll rely on your (double) jump and your blaster, though some environments introduce new elements, like swimming and climbing. There’s replay value in the fact that you can go back in and hunt for collectibles too, which in this case actually result in getting access to museum-style content in the main menu.

Combine that with online leaderboards for the competitive games out there and a charming art style that does a lot with an understated color palette, and Planet Cube: Edge is a fun little budget action platformer. It won’t turn the genre upside down and can feel repetitive in places, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

1993 Shenandoah review (PS4)

Originally launched on Steam back in 2016 as “1993 Space Machine” by Exceed and Aurora Punks, this is a game with a cool retro story behind it. It’s now been brought over to PlayStation, giving more players the chance to discover a lost arcade shooter from a forgotten time.

When development on 1993 Shenandoah started, it was meant as a release for the Commodore Amiga, which together with the Atari ST was one of the last successful home computers. What started as a huge movement in the 1980s with the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum matured with the ST and Amiga, producing some real gems until PCs started having larger hard drives, dedicated sound card and stronger graphics capabilities in the early to mid nineties. What was great about the home computing age, however, was that very small teams – or even individuals – were able to crank out games, something that faded out of view for years until the ‘indie scene’ emerged.


The team behind 1993 Shenandoah also dreamt of producing something like R-Type or the Bitmap Brothers’ home computer classic Xenon 2, but ultimately their efforts stranded near the finish line, only to be picked back up again almost three decades later. The end result is an arcade shooter that has “home computer” written all over it, and therein lies a lot of its charm. From the visuals to the music, this is a game from the time of the SNES but it managed to feel quite unlike that platform.

The campaign is spread out across six planets, and you’ll have several spacecraft and a nice selection of (upgradeable) weapons at your disposal as well – with an in-game store letting you spend your credits on additional firepower. But as with nearly all games of that era, it’s relatively short on content – much like the arcade shooters that inspired it. You can complete the campaign in under an hour, and most of the replay value comes from trying to tackle the game at higher difficulty levels and trying out different weapon configurations. It’s certainly not the best shooter out there today, but if you have nostalgia for the tail end of the home computer era this is a great trip down memory lane.

Wild West Dynasty launches into Early Access

Toplitz Production has enjoyed a lot of success and acclaim with Medieval Dynasty, a game that lets you carve out your destiny in the Middle Ages by hunting, building and eventually leading your people. It’s no wonder that people were eagerly anticipating Wild West Dynasty because of this, and the game recently went into Early Access on Steam.

The pitch for Wild West Dynasty seems to write itself – take Medieval Dynasty and transport that formula to a world of cowboys and gunslingers, where you can achieve glory but meet a quick death just as easily. Combining elements of city building, survival, and RPG, the game takes players to the United States of America in the 1800s – a place where you’re looking to build up and expand a settlement.


And while initially you’ll focus on crafting, farming and hopefully getting some people to join you, the game is an open world and after a while you can start to explore on horseback. Both at the settlement and out in the wild you’ll have to battle the elements, wildlife and robbers. It’s a grand promise and judging from the state of Medieval Dynasty it’s going to be great to see how it turns out, but unfortunately the game didn’t launch in a very stable state. Over the course of a few hours of gameplay we ran into more than a dozen technical issues that that forced us to reload a saved game or even completely restart the game. We’re still excited about Wild West Dynasty’s promise, but unless you’re eager to get in at the very early end of Early Access, it’s probably a good idea to wait a bit before jumping aboard this horse carriage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: