BalanCity & Frost Game Reviews – Two Unique Games, Two VERY Different Opinions

Two Reviews in One?!?

I’m doing something a bit different today and reviewing two games instead of one. Normally I’d do a Mini Review for each game here but then I thought, why not combine the two? Especially since both games offer a unique spin on their respective game genres and both are relatively quick plays for the more casual gamer looking to kill smaller chunks of time while bored. We’ll take a look at BalanCity first and then Frost, so let’s get to it! Continue reading “BalanCity & Frost Game Reviews – Two Unique Games, Two VERY Different Opinions”

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Artifact – Great Game, Bad Execution

Predatory Practice

Valve announced, much to the displeasure of many, the release of their newest title since Dota 2 in 2013, a card game titled Artifact. Being an avid player of card games, and having reviewed several of the biggest ones in the market currently, in some form or another (Hearthstone, Shadowverse, and others), I was afforded the opportunity to take a look at this one as well. What sets Artifact apart from those games is that it is not free-to-play, features designs from world-famous Richard Garfield, and mimics the real-world TCG scene seen in games like Magic the Gathering with its closed economy system. There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s waste no time and dive into just what you get with your $20 purchase of Artifact and if it is ultimately worth your money! Continue reading “Artifact – Great Game, Bad Execution”

The Mirror Lied – Mini Review

Halloween Leftovers

I love Freebird Games’ To the Moon, so whenever they release something new I check it out. Well, this is more like a re-release of a 2008 title, The Mirror Lied. The game is pretty abstract and only takes about 30 minutes to beat 100%. It was one of the games I tried out for my brief spooky game play session this Halloween. The big question here, is this any good?

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Really, I have no clue what to think of the story. It didn’t exactly make a ton of sense. Though I am not without some theories. There is a lot of referring to a birdie and a portion of the game where you look at, what appears to be, a virus under a microscope.

My best guess is that some epidemic is, or was, about to take place and that is what the story is about. Past that, your best guess is as good as mine. It is very much up for interpretation.

When it comes to the atmosphere it is kind of spooky but this isn’t a horror game at all. Stuff kind of just happens, the creepiest being a phone ringing with cryptic messages (if you answer). The Mirror Lied has one song for its soundtrack, which I liked ok, but it isn’t the greatest.

As far as an initial impression goes, this is something to check out if you like more experimental games. With such a short playtime it isn’t really asking much of you either. If anything, it is something different.

The creator, Kan, put out a video explaining everything so here you go:

Finally, all the questions answered!


Give the game a go, or not, it is free. What is your best guess for what happened in the story? Let me hear your voice in the comments. If you would like to help me out a bit please click the donation button below. As always, thanks for reading and hope to see you back here again soon!

Confess My Love – Mini Review

An Endless Cycle of Rejection

This will truly be a mini review, as I have very little to say about Confess My Love by LR Studio. This is a free to play game on Steam that is about, well, confessing your love to a girl. Toted as a horror title I thought this innocent looking title might be a good quick look for Halloween since that was around the corner. Sadly, there just isn’t much here and this isn’t really worth your time unless you plan to play the connected game Transparent Black.

Here was my experience with Confess My Love. I spent two whole hours, with a guide after a bit, getting 100% on this game. At first it was fun to explore and see the various ways your crush, Liza will reject you, but it quickly became tedious. This was especially true if you wanted to get the true ending, which requires you to do a core loop that only has a 1/3 chance of even triggering in order to progress.

To the credit of the developer, the game is streamlined enough that once you do hit that event trigger, you don’t have to repeat the whole loop any more, just part of it. However, a lot of the game is still just walking up to Liza at various times and choosing to confess right away or hesitate a bit.

So is this spooky then? No. It doesn’t deserve the horror tag it received. There is an ending where Liza does accept your feelings but she becomes a ghost thing and murders you unless you run away. Eh.

How about the story then? I at first thought this was going to be a story about how people can get in their own heads. Then with the introduction of the second character, Julie, I thought things would take a more Doki Doki Literature Club route where she would be the one with feelings for you and the, “correct” choice. Well all that is totally wrong!

Instead, and spoilers (but really, you shouldn’t care), it turns out you were dead the whole time, Julie is the Devil, and Liza is just a construct of your own personal Hell in regards to your lingering regret upon death. There is a semi-cute scene where you find out that Liza liked you and she gets this cake you bought her but it was not at all worth it.

One point of praise I can give to Confess My Love is that it has a lovely soundtrack of like 3 songs. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly as I played those two hours so it wasn’t like the whole thing was awful. The game is just tedious with not much pay out. Conceptually interesting but lacking in execution.

Note:  The game’s translation has since improved dramatically from when this trailer was made

Despite all of this, I am interested in Transparent Black at the price of $0.99 so I suppose I’ll give that a try. If you decide you’d like to check out that game then that is the only circumstance where I’d recommend Confess Your Love as a 100% completion save for this game is REQUIRED for Transparent Black if you want to beat it. I just regret deleting my save now…


What free to play games would you recommend for the spook-tacular season? Have you played Confess My Love? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you would like to support me please hit my donation button below as I’d greatly appreciate it. As always, thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day!

Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma – Reviewing Them All Part 3

The Final Part of one Crazy Trilogy

With three games, the Zero Escape trilogy was something I was excited to embark on. I already took a look at the first game, 999, and the second game, Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR for short), which was a lot of fun to do. If you haven’t read those already, I highly recommend doing so since I’ll be referring back to the other games in this look at the final game, Zero Escape:  Zero Time Dilemma (ZTD for short). Even if you haven’t played the other games don’t worry, I will have a brief section of the review for newcomers of the franchise and if this series is for you. With that, there will be three sections:  a section on this game as a standalone work, a spoiler-free look at ZTD that will refer back to the previous game, and a more detailed look at ZTD with spoilers. Let’s dive in! Continue reading “Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma – Reviewing Them All Part 3”

SRPG Studio – I Made a Game!

Well… More Like a Concept Demo

Recently I decided to fiddle around with the newly released English version of SRPG Studio that launched on Steam. For those unfamiliar, it is the engine used to make games akin to Fire Emblem, meaning you can make tactics based RPG’s with it. Even the creator of Fire Emblem, ‎Shouzou Kaga uses the software for doujin games. I made a full concept demo using just the free demo version in under 24 hours. Let’s dive into that experience and review the software some. Continue reading “SRPG Studio – I Made a Game!”

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games Virtue’s Last Reward – Reviewing Them All Part 2

That’s it…?

This review is part 2 of a series where I look at the entire Zero Escape franchise. If you haven’t read part 1 where I talk about the first game, 999, I suggest you do that before reading this one. Some spoilers for 999 will also be in this so you may want to play that first if that bugs you. This review will be split into two sections:  the first section will be a spoiler free review of Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR for short) and the second will be a spoiler section where I discuss certain points in greater detail. Continue reading “Zero Escape: The Nonary Games Virtue’s Last Reward – Reviewing Them All Part 2”

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games 999 – Reviewing Them All Part 1

The Stuff Conspiracy is Made of

During the Steam Summer Sale I decided to pick up a few games while they were on the cheap. As per my friend’s recommendation along with one from Mother’s Basement, I decided that I would pick up ALL of the Zero Escape series. Today I’ll be looking at just the first game, 999, or Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. The game is a visual novel escape room hybrid that is embroiled in mystery and conspiracy. By the end you won’t be able to look at the number, “9” the same way again.  Continue reading “Zero Escape: The Nonary Games 999 – Reviewing Them All Part 1”

Sentinels of the Multiverse – Reviewing the Board Game, Video Game, & Opening the BIG Box

After Years of Waiting it Finally Came!

Sentinels of the Multiverse, or SoTM, is one of my favorite board games that I own. That’s why when the last expansion went up on Kicstarter years ago, along with the BIG box to hold it all, I jumped on it immediately. Well it took its sweet time but it finally came! Today I review the game, its digital version, and of course, the BIG box! Continue reading “Sentinels of the Multiverse – Reviewing the Board Game, Video Game, & Opening the BIG Box”

Slay the Spire – Mini Review

It Keeps Getting Better & Better

Please note that this is an early access title that receives regular content updates and changes

In the world of video games it feels like people are starting to get sick of early access titles and rouge lites, especially dungeon crawlers. Who can blame them? Many of these games over promise and under deliver, cost too much, or are just plain terrible games. This doesn’t even mention the shear volume of them competing for your attention. Slay the Spire is both of these things, and before I lose you, I assure you that this game is well worth your time and money due to its engaging gameplay and continual updates. This is one hell of an effort for Mega Crit Games first ever game!

When I first got Slay the Spire on Jan 19, 2018 it only had two characters and one game mode. Each Thursday, outside of one announced instance, this game receives an update. Usually these updates bring in content and fix a lot of issues but some even bring in major amounts of content such as new characters or game modes. Today it has three characters, multiple game modes, and has received numerous additions and rebalance to gameplay. This constant support and love from the developers is a big reason why I love this game.

At first, when I saw some people playing the game prior to purchasing it, I thought it was a neat idea but not something I was interested. The game was pretty ugly, and while I enjoyed the concepts, it just didn’t seem to have enough content. However, that was until I saw a video a few weeks later and things in Slay the Spire had changed fairly dramatically. I knew then that this game was something I could get behind, and a purchase I am so pleased with as it has offered over 120 hours of fun.

You may be wondering how exactly Slay the Spire plays and why this stands out from other rouge lite experiences. In this game you explore three acts, or dungeons, doing battle and having other encounters. What is unique about this is that you choose your route as you go, much in the vein of games like FTL. On top of that, you battle using a deck of cards that starts off not so great and gets better over time as you add new cards to your deck. This works much like the board game Dominion where you draw a hand, play cards based on the number of actions you have, and then discard your hand before drawing a new one for the next turn.

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Example of the map and what to expect

Slay the Spire has three very different characters to choose from. You only have access to one, The Ironclad, at first but as you play you will unlock the other characters and various cards as well as items that can be found within the dungeons. This hero focuses on strength and gets some bonus passive healing which is very valuable in a game like this. Normally, you can only heal at campfires but those are also upgrade spots, so needing to heal less is a big deal.

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An example of cards The Ironclad has access to as you play

The other two heroes, The Silent, and, The Defect play very differently. The Silent is a defensive fighter that likes to apply status effects to her enemies like poison while The Defect utilizes various orbs that provide both passive and active effects. Personally, I am terrible with The Ironclad but have really been loving The Defect, who was only just recently added to the game not too long ago.

At first beating the game even once with any of these characters will be very challenging. This is partially because you won’t have everything unlocked at the start, but the game does have a small learning curve as you figure out what enemies show up where and general attack patterns. However, you’ll soon find yourself breezing through the game and beating it consistently. Don’t worry though, the game still manages to keep itself fresh even after you beat it with each hero.

Slay the Spire has three game modes. The first being the primary, “story” mode, though I use story lightly. Right now there isn’t really one. After you win the game with a character once, you unlock accession mode which adds more and more difficulty each time you beat it, having 15 levels in total. When I started out beating even level 5 was something that felt impossible, now I’ve beaten level 10 no problem. Funny enough, 15 still seems pretty far from my reach, especially with every hero.

The other game modes on offer are a daily challenge mode where you compete on a fixed board against others for the highest score. It’s an ok mode that offers some fun from time-to-time. Lastly, there is a custom mode that doubles as an endless mode. This is where you can try some of the silly settings from the daily mode as well as absurd challenges like beating the game with only one HP.

I love Slay the Spire. It’s a really fun game that is perfect for people who want a game that receives a ton of support and has a lot of replayability. There are still several things I haven’t even seen in the game yet, and that’s pretty incredible for the hours I’ve put in. If you still aren’t convinced, or would like to see the game in action a bit, I have included the trailer below.


What are your thoughts on early access titles and rouge lite games? Love them or hate them, let me know in the comments below. I’d also enjoy hearing your thoughts on Slay the Spire and if you enjoy the game or not too. If you like the work I do here please hit the button below and donate a few dollars to me. Lastly, I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews, and as always, thanks for reading!

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