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Weedcraft Inc Review — An Addictive Hit

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Weedcraft

Drugs are a taboo topic that, when discussed through an artistic medium, usually tend to be portrayed as something sinister or crude. Widely known franchises such as Grand Theft Auto or Fallout incorporate drug use, contributing to their bad reputation in games. Weedcraft Inc is a management simulation game that avoids the negative side of the subject and instead presents an engaged argument, albeit through a quirky narrative.

The aim of the game is to build a business empire where weed is the product. When the game begins, growing and selling weed is illegal, which involves managing police interest. To increase profits, beating the competition is essential. Managing these systems can be done through a number of means, including bribing or befriending these characters. To expand the business, employees can be hired to perform tasks such as gathering information on other characters or selling product.

In the early stages, Weedcraft Inc does a fine job of introducing the various elements that require management to increase success. Despite this gradual introduction, newcomers to the genre will feel a little out of their depth trying to manage the complicated systems and create a high profit turnover. Investing time in micromanaging systems is intentionally tedious but valuable to expand the weed empire.

An incredible amount of research has been done to present a thoughtful, well-rounded look at the American perspective of marijuana legislation and its implications on people and business. This insight is presented through a narrative that allows players to change the law and witness the repercussions. Regardless of personal opinion on legalising weed, Weedcraft Inc is a must play to gain a broader understanding of the subject, without forcing a particular point of view on the player.

The polished visuals really make Weedcraft Inc stand out. The visuals boast some clever touches, such as the muted tones of the game world highlighting the bright hues of the cannabis plants, thus showing off their importance. A comic book art style was the perfect choice to make the game feel mature without being too serious. To further emphasise the relaxed tone, the soundtrack is stylish with a chilled out, stoner vibe that perfectly suits a game about drugs. Naturally, Weedcraft Inc also features achievements for things such as playing the game for 4 hours and 20 minutes, all of which add to the tongue-in-cheek humour that underpins the game.

As someone new to the management sim genre, more guidance would have been welcomed in the form of a tutorial for more advanced systems of the game. For example, when fast-forwarding time to increase profits, I would be interrupted by a police event. After bribing the officer to resolve the event, the game would pause no less than a minute later to go through the exact same process. These events were being triggered by my own mismanagement; however, the continual interruption offered little chance to correct my failings, which caused a painful amount of frustration.

Playing Weedcraft Inc is ironically addictive. Something is always available to improve,  and those with competitive personalities will find that the urge to beat the competition or create better strands of weed is irresistible. Weedcraft Inc demands the players attention, which creates a sense of ownership over the business empire being created and hooks the player in to play for “just ten more minutes.” Despite the occasional feelings of tedium, the overall experience is an inventive illustration of this ever-growing economy. The nicely polished systems offer a challenge for new and experienced players of the management sim genre. With inviting visuals and an engaging story, Weedcraft Inc creates a unique tone compared to other management sims, ultimately hooking you in for another hit.

OnlySP Review Score 4 Distinction

Reviewed on PC.

What does a fitness instructor like to do with their spare time? Write about video games obviously. Amy has been obsessed with video games ever since watching her parents play Crash Bandicoot on PS1. All these years later, she is thrilled to get to share her thoughts on the games she loves so much.

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Review

ZED Review — A Boring Walk

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ZED Review Screenshot 1

Players intrigued by the premise of ZED will have to look elsewhere for a game that delivers on the promise of an emotional journey set amidst surreal landscapes. Although the game does have fascinating visuals, the lack of any real gameplay makes the entire experience dull and uninspiring. However, despite being an altogether terrible experience, the ending is still somehow emotional.

ZED tells the story of an ageing artist suffering with dementia who must recover his lost memories  to create one final artwork for his granddaughter. The player assumes the role of the artist, stuck in his own twisted mind, to collect important objects from the course of his life and bring him peace.

Gameplay entirely consists of two things: walking around to find objects and solving basic puzzles. In all of the game’s areas, only four objects are to be found. Finding the objects is an incredibly simple task in most levels as the design is linear and leads the player along a path or through a small collection of rooms to find these items. Occasionally, one of the objects will be placed in a ridiculous location. Breaking the linearity in this way is incredibly frustrating and forces the player to backtrack and find hidden paths that are not immediately obvious. As for the puzzles, they take seconds to complete even without searching for the striking blue solutions on the walls of the level. Such a simplistic and unoriginal gameplay loop makes the incredibly short game boring to play through.

The environments are genuinely fun to look at and do a brilliant job of capturing the mayhem inside the mind of a man whose memory is failing him. Disappointingly, the game has no interactive elements within the environments beyond the key items, toilets, and plush toys. Even then, interacting with these objects requires specific mouse placement, which is almost impossible to predict as a cursor has been omitted for the sake of immersion. The game has many quirky assets, yet the lack of interactivity makes them feel worthless.

Eagre Games tries to create an immersive experience, though falls flat for a number of reasons, the most annoying of which is the load screens. The player progresses the story by unlocking doorways to reveal the next scene. However, after getting this glimpse of art, the player is thrust into a brief black loading screen which ruins the point of revealing anything at all.

The narrative is told through voice-overs that belong to the protagonist’s daughter and two different sides of his deteriorating mind. Subtitles are turned off by default, yet, without them, the player has no way of knowing that the artist’s voice is represented as a dual identity. What is being said makes little sense as is, let alone without the context of a warring ego and id.

By the end of the game, the player just wants to see the result of this painful object search and, surprisingly, the conclusion is overwhelmingly touching. Against all odds, ZED somehow manages to finish on a high that acts as a reminder that anything is possible if you chase your dreams.

The ending is the only redeeming feature of this boring experience. ZED is short, uninspired, and disappointing. For a game that sounded so promising, weak gameplay prevents it from having any real emotional impact. Hopefully, the strong development team at Eagre Games will learn from its mistakes to create something that is as fun to play as it is to look at.

OnlySP Review Score 1 Fail

Reviewed on PC.

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