Forager for PC

Game by: HopFrog and Humble Bundle

Game for: All Ages

Our Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review by: Kelly

Forager is a fun new PC game from indie publisher HopFrog. I played an early build of Forager when it was still free for download from HopFrog’s website, right after it was made a couple of years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it then as great little casual crafting game, but boy has it grown up for its full release on Steam.

Forager game trailer: Film credit HumbleBundle.com

Forager is a resource collecting, building and crafting game set in a semi-randomized world made up of small islands.

It has a top down viewpoint and all the resources, items, characters, buildings and enemies are beautifully animated 2D sprites with a pleasing and relaxing color palette.

Forager starts your character out on the central island with a basic pickaxe and backpack, as well as some trees, rocks and bushes to start harvesting for resources.  Resources constantly re-spawn on all open areas of ground in the game. Additional islands are purchased for gold coins that you either collect in the world or make with technology and buildings.

Forager Humble Beginnings: Image Credit ourfamilygamereviews.com

As you unlock islands in Forager, you gain access to dungeons, puzzles and NPC quests.  These add variety to the video game and give you something to do beyond collecting resources and building stuff.

There are 5 biomes in the world. They range from the snowy sheep filled Winter Biome in the north, to the demon infested Fire Biome in the south. Each land has its own unique resource spawns, enemies, and a dungeon.  The only exception is the starting Grass Biome. Instead of a dungeon it houses the Museum.

Forager has a balanced, tiered equipment system. The system allows upgrades to the tools, equipment and weapons. The simple combat is fun and gets crazy near the end game when you’ve got a fully upgraded sword, equipment, and a mob of droids following you around. One downside is that at times there is so much going on it can be hard to keep track of.

Forager Endgame: Image Credit ourfamilygamereviews.com

Struggling to keep up with the activity in the game shows when it comes to resource production. When you have a ton of furnaces, factories, sewing stations and other production structures, the right side of your screen is a constant stream of information.  As you stack your production on top of resource collection from mining rods, and your drones auto-killing everything, that active stream gets hard to read.

The rapidly changing stats make it difficult to tell when you’ve collected enough resources to complete your quest or Museum collection. The sound effects for collecting all of that stuff can get overwhelming, and even annoying, so I tend to turn the sound down while playing late in the game. I hope the developer will fix this later on by changing how resource collection notifies the player.

Forager game trailer: Film credit HumbleBundle.com

Completing the Museum collections are a great way to guide your technological rise. All of the items required eventually show up in the Marketplace given enough time.

You can earn upgrade orbs for your character to increase your damage, add more health, or immediately level up.  Leveling up in Forager is how you advance your technology, as each level grants you a skill point that you can use to unlock new items, tools and resources.

The skill page is laid out in a grid formation. At level one, you only have access to unlocking the four center skills in the eight by eight grid. As you unlock each skill, all of the adjacent, undiscovered skills in the grid become available to unlock.

The randomness of island spawns and this versatile skill layout allow for some limited replayability, allowing you to rush for skills to build your economy in different ways during a playthrough.

I recommend Forager if you are looking for a fun and relaxing crafting and collecting experience. It’s adorable and throughout the game you unlock special art and comics from the creator that tells the story of Forager’s developer and shares part of HopFrog’s heart.

It’s clear Forager was a passion project born out of pure love and a need to share the designer’s creativity with the world. Although the endgame can be a little nuts and overwhelming, Forager is overall a fantastic indie video game title with fun achievements and puzzles to solve.

I’m happy to say I was able to complete all the achievements in one play-through with about twenty hours of game play. Forager is appropriate for younger gamers as well since it has no gore. Every monster and resource just explodes when you deplete its health.

Forager is well worth an inclusion in your gaming collection and you will get hours of enjoyment out of it. Happy foraging!

Want to get Forager for your favorite gamer? Gift them a Steam gift card, available from Amazon here.

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Limbo

Game by: Playdead

Game for: Pre-teens and up

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Mom

Limbo is a creepy black-and-grey platformer puzzle style game from Playdead. Although it’s a few years old, it’s still one of my favorite puzzle solving games, and I’ve played through it a couple of times. The thing I love about Limbo visually is its utter simplicity. The game is played through a series of atmospheric scenes that are dimly lit, and in shadow.

While games like Little Nightmares (see my review of this single player horror game here) depend heavily on lighting and color to guide your character along, Limbo takes visual simplicity even further by placing the puzzle solving on a 2D platform and removing all color from the game.

This quick side scroller relies on your ability to solve problems using physics and quick-thinking to survive. In my opinion, the minimalist design adds to the intrigue as you’re forced to get creative within the confines of the two-dimensional world.

If big horror titles and are too much for you, but you like a bit of creepiness in your video games, then Limbo might be the game for you. It’s beautiful atmosphere and simple adventure will keep you pushing through the trouble that lies ahead.

You can find Limbo for the Nintendo Switch on Amazon here.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Little Nightmares

Game by: Tarsier Studios

Game for: Teens and Up

Our Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review by: Mom

Available on: Microsoft Windows (PC), PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Little Nightmares is a platformer style puzzle solving game that Dad got me because I enjoyed the Limbo video game so thoroughly (you can see my review of Limbo here).

Unfortunately, when I first had it added to my Steam library, my ancient computer took a nosedive, and although it ran the game there was so much lag that I was having a hard time getting through the rooms and monsters. I played my first six hours of the game with the graphics turned as far down as possible, but still had such a problem with lag that I gave up. A person can only get caught and neck-snapped by chefs so many times.

Yes, I said neck snapped. Or suffocated, maybe. The intensely dark art design in this game sparks the darkest images of your imagination.

After I upgraded to a new Dell laptop, I gave Little Nightmares another try. I’m glad I did. Little Nightmares was a great horror style game for me. It isn’t overtly graphic, the game doesn’t depend on jump-scares to get the “horror” designation, and the slow pace and dark ambiance make the game pleasing to look at while you’re trying not to die.

I will admit, although I love puzzle games, I don’t like getting stumped to the point of frustration. There were a few points in the game where I simply couldn’t figure out what to do next, and rather than hit my head against the keyboard trying to figure it out, I referenced the Prima Games Little Nightmares Walkthrough and Guide.

The one thing I didn’t love was that the game wasn’t long enough, so I was glad that I had all the extra downloadable content to work through after Little Nightmares found its end. Adding The Depths, The Hideaway, and The Residence to my Steam library nearly doubled my playtime and kept me enthralled in the story of this delightfully creepy game.

Tarsier Studios took their storytelling a fresh direction by making the entire game without dialogue, relying on lighting, music and sound effects to move you through the plot. It’s clear that your character wants to escape the horrible child-farm she lives in, and it’s not difficult to piece together why, one scene at a time.

In fact, this immersive story style makes the game linger in the back of your mind long after you walk away from the screen, which is an emotional effect that I love coming from a cinematic video game.

As I mentioned before, my biggest complaint about the game is that I would have liked the core game to be longer. It took me about six hours to play through, and I’m not the most savvy gamer.

If you decide to try Little Nightmares yourself, make sure to grab the Secrets of the Maw Expansion Pass. Once you get involved in this story, you’re going to want it to last as long as possible.

I played Little Nightmares on my laptop through the Steam store. But you can find this game on just about all the current consoles here.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition

Manufacturer: Beamdog

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Dad

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for PC is the penultimate version of this classic Dungeons and Dragons RPG adventure.  Baldur’s Gate is a top-down isometric view RPG adventure where you roll a single character or an entire party of adventurers to experience the story of your unusual parentage and the mysterious circumstances the Sword Coast of Faerun currently finds itself in.

The world of Faerun is a vastly fleshed out world in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons and many characters from the books and pen and paper RPGs like the wizard Elminster and the drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden appear in Baldur’s Gate. 

Baldur’s Gate is built on the 2nd Edition rules for Dungeons and Dragons and still remains one of my favorite RPG systems from when I was a kid.  The game can be paused at any time by pressing Spacebar allowing you to micro manage your party’s actions during combat. And there are some intense encounters where you really need to.

Expect to fight all of the classic monsters from Dungeons and Dragons such as Kobolds, Gnolls, Trolls, Giants, Doppelgangers, Beholders, carrion crawlers, liches and many more.  The updated spell effects and sounds really make your spell casters shine as almost all of the spell effects were updated with more depth and animations. And all of the classic D&D spells are available for your wizards, druids and clerics.  Some of my favorites are Magic Missile, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Bless, and Monster Summoning and all look fantastic in Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition.

In 2016, Beamdog Inc had acquired permissions to re-release the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale series as Enhanced Editions and boy did they deliver.  Beamdog faithfully updated the entire game’s graphics, sounds on an updated version of the original Infinity Engine.  They even added new NPC’s to find and add to your party and some new side quests.

Beamdog has preserved the look, feel, mechanics, and spirit of the game and I have bought almost all of the Enhanced Edition Games they have released on Steam. 

My Love Affair With Baldur’s Gate started with the original release of the game in 1998. Baldur’s Gate was originally developed by Bioware and published by Interplay Entertainment.  I put in hundreds of hours in the base game and its expansion Tales of the Sword coast during high school and later in college.

Since that time I’ve done at least 10 full playthroughs with different main characters, including an evil character run that was just as memorable as any of my others.

If you are a fan of pen and paper RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder, and you want to play one of the best RPGs ever made on PC, then Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is the place to start.

I highly recommend you check it out for yourself along with the other games from that series.  Beamdog currently has released Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale II.  They are all amazing and Beamdog has even released a brand new expansion for Baldur’s Gate called Siege of Dragonspear that has never been seen before. That’s right, they made a full game expansion for a title that is now over 20 years old. 

That is the kind of dedication to an intellectual property that I wish more developers had these days and it shines through every bit of work they did on enhancing Baldur’s Gate.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Why I Uninstalled Fallout 76

An Honest Review from a Long Time Fallout Fanboy

Developers: Bethesda Software

Our Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Review by: Dad, additional comments by Papa

Editor’s note: This is a very long review. Put your phone on silent, close Facebook, get some popcorn, and settle in. We’re going to be here a while.

I suppose it’s easier to explain my feelings about this game if I start with a little story.

I’ve been a huge fallout fan since the original top-down isometric view turn based games of Fallout one and two. Fallout 3 was a huge leap forward in that universe for a lot of us fans. Its storytelling, choices, and combat were all great. The bugs in the game were amusing at best, and as long as you were careful with saves, they were rarely game breaking. 

Since that time, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a lot of Bethesda’s titles, not just the Fallout games.  Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, Skyrim, and the new Doom and Wolfenstein titles have all been fun and I’ve enjoyed them all to various extents.  I’m not just a Fallout fan, I’m a Bethesda fan, and I have been for a long time. Unfortunately, with Fallout 76, I don’t know if I can honestly say that anymore.

Fallout 76 was released on November 14th 2018 and is an online multiplayer version of Fallout 4 on a huge map. The map is set in the hills of Appalachia in West Virginia. Players can scavenge the wasteland and complete quests together or solo.

You experience the story through leftover holo tapes and notes as there are no real NPCs in Fallout 76, save for a couple of robots that you return to for quest lines.  There’s some great storytelling in Fallout 76, but it’s hard to find and is often interrupted by random attacks and many, many game breaking bugs.  So many bugs, it would be hard to list them all here. 

As of the writing of this review, it’s been over three months since Fallout 76 released, and despite Bethesda’s updates, is still a broken mess with rampant cheating, severe server stability issues, broken animations, quests with broken markers, and a boring, somewhat lifeless world.

I wanted to love Fallout 76. I would have settled for being mildly content.

I bought Fallout 76 with my Dad so we could Fallout together. It was something we had both had really wanted for a long time.  We jumped online the second the game went live, ready to experience the new world side-by-side.

Shortly after launch, the friends list in the game bugged and auto blocked us from each other, making it so we couldn’t play the game together. The glitch kept us blocked from each other for several weeks before a patch finally fixed the issue. Eventually, we found each other again through a mutual friend that was also playing Fallout 76.

That one bug alone was frustrating for us. We persevered, and when we finally could play together again, we had problems staying on the same server.  It sometimes took up to an hour to get on the same server, meet up and start playing. Even then, we would only get an hour or two to play before the server would disconnect or one of our clients would crash.

When we were successful at questing and exploring together, I found the majority of quests I took on to be forgettable and uninspiring.

The grind to maintain your weapons and equipment and gather ammo and materials can be downright depressing at times, and ends up feeling very unrewarding. Bethesda has continued to Nerf this grind, making it longer and longer while not fixing the basic issues many players have with the game.

It seems like whenever Bethesda releases a new patch, the game is broken in new and frustrating ways. But hey, that Atomic Shop seems to have some great new skins every week for sale.

How Bethesda thought their aging creation engine would be able to stand up to massive online play is beyond me.  I was really hoping Fallout 4 would have been their last title built in the creation engine, but quality of their product is something that seems to be much less important to Bethesda these days and that is really unfortunate.

The worst part of it all is that I pre-ordered and paid full price for Fallout 76.  Two weeks after release, it was half price.

TWO. WEEKS.

Now, retailers are dumping copies as fast and as cheaply as they can.  There are many people who believe the game will soon go free to play.  I can’t get a refund because I actually played the game and gave it a shot. How am I supposed to feel like a valued customer after this experience?  The answer is, I don’t.

I’m going to have a hard time supporting Bethesda in the future.  Bethesda gets to keep my money for Fallout 76, but it was such a bad experience all the way around.

If you are looking for a fantastic RPG experience, check out some of my favorites like:

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition

Hollow Knight

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Dungeon Siege

System Shock 2

Deux Ex: Human Revolution

There are also several new games on the horizon that have me excited for 2019. Cyberpunk 2077 and The Outer Worlds being at the top of my list.


Papa Steve’s Views on Fallout 76

I have logged over 4500 total hours on just Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Skyrim V (The Elder Scrolls), all titles from Bethesda, so when I say I enjoy PC games, I’m not kidding.  I pre-ordered Fallout 76 and paid full price for a game that was soon available for half price.  Guess I won’t be buying any Bethesda titles at full price ever again.

Most of the games I enjoy have an element of inventory management.  Fallout 76 takes this to a new and extremely frustrating level.  My title for this broken game is “What am I out of now?”  You have to spend way too much time looking for junk material so you can eat, drink and maintain your physical body, weapons, and armor.  This is so tedious as to detract from the fun parts of the game.

The scenery and light shading are spectacular. But wait. What am I out of now?

You start the game emerging from Vault 76 and begin you quest following the vault overseer’s trail.  Looking for that next holo tape to explain what you need to do next.  There are the game main missions and a separate list of side missions that changes as you complete quests and obtain new one.

I have played Vault 76 an hour or two daily since launch, and have achieved level 58 as of this writing.  I’m still trying to get my monies worth out of this game, and have a friend who still plays.  Playing co-opt is fun and the only way I can move forward is to find like minded players to team up with. I have had random encounters that showed the power of team work that this game requires if you are to succeed.

The bugs in this game are numerous and frustrating. My pet peeve is I lose the 100 pound carry bonus I’m supposed to have when I’m wearing my hard earned set of excavator power armor if i exit the armor during game play. It doesn’t come back until I exit the game and restart again, already in my armor. What a bunch of crap.  Too bad the armor exit key is right next to the move forward key.  Watch where that finger goes! Oops, too late.

Might as well shut down and go get a snack.

To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement.  How do I compete in this world when there are level 200 plus players out there? I don’t like “Player Killers” and will leave the game if I end up on a map with a high level “WANTED” close by.  I have had my base attacked with mini nukes by a group of other players conducting raids.  I didn’t enjoy these gaming sessions.

In the end, I’ve had fun exploring the map solo and trying not to get killed by the dangers of the game. I guess I’ll wait it out to see what is added when the other vaults become available as DLC’s.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Tomb Raider (PC Gaming)

Developers: Crystal Dynamics, Edios-Montreal, Feral Interactive

Our Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Warning: This game is for mature audiences (17+)

Review by: Mom

I’m behind the times when it comes to gaming. It doesn’t matter whether it’s console or PC, I’m typically playing games that came out years ago. So, it wasn’t until recently that I finally got around to playing Tomb Raider even though it came out back in 2013. One thing’s for sure: I don’t know why I waited so long to play this amazing game!

If you aren’t familiar with Tomb Raider, it’s a single player puzzle solving game that follows Lara Croft and her crew as they embark on her first quest to not only find artifacts, but also to solve the mystery surrounding a lost island.

I played Tomb Raider on my Dell Inspiron 15 5000 through Steam, and after years of having a laggy desktop that chugged along through games like Little Nightmares, it was awesome to have the laptop upgrade so I could dive into Tomb Raider and actually enjoy the dark, visual storytelling.

While I’ve always loved the puzzle platforming style of classic Lara Croft games, Tomb Raider brings her story to the next level by incorporating survival style play, hand to hand combat, and such rich graphics that I felt like I was trapped on the island with Lara.

Here’s one of Tomb Raider’s trailers. Please be aware, this trailer was not made for kids. Quick, put on your headphones and turn your laptop so they can’t see!

Some players who have loved the series since the first game released in 1996 were unhappy with Tomb Raider for not being true to earlier games in form and function. I was delighted that it wasn’t purely a puzzle solving game. The added mechanics, multi-layered world, and multi-character storytelling were an incredible upgrade for me.

My only gripe with the game was that there were so many side quests spread over the massive map. I got tired of trying to find all of the hidden bonus items, especially on multi-level maps where not only was there a lot of ground to cover, but mountainside heights as well. In the end, I decided to enjoy the main story and forgo hunting for GPS markers, journals and the like as completing those side bits ended up detracting from getting to the next quest.

If you want to fight bad guys, solve puzzles, and watch a cinematic story unfold before your eyes, and you’ve got the energy to get some gaming in after the kids go to bed, then this game will be right up your alley.

I’m looking forward to playing the next game in the Tomb Raider line. Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks just as dangerously appealing as the 2013 Tomb Raider was.

One other thing to be aware of, if you’re one of those rare PC gamers who wants a console experience, at the time of this writing the Steam Link is still available on Amazon.

Dad plays a ton of the games in his Steam library using the Steam Link and a controller, and it’s been an awesome crossover device for him. Get yours here!One other thing to be aware of, if you’re one of those rare PC gamers who wants a console experience, at the time of this writing the Steam Link is still available on Amazon. Dad plays a ton of the games in his Steam library using the Steam Link and a controller, and it’s been an awesome crossover device for him. Get yours here!

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Lego Batman the Videogame (Nintendo Wii)

Amazon Product Name: Lego Batman – Nintendo Wii

Our Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

I like fighting crime on Lego Batman the Videogame. I play Lego Batman on the Wii. I like the animation of coming back to life after I die. It’s flashy and cool. When you die, it isn’t game over, because it’s Lego. It starts you at the last place you were playing. Playing this game with a friend makes it more fun than playing single player. I prefer being Batman instead of being Robin.

The actions with the wii remote is pretty good. You use both the wii remote and the nunchuck to make the characters move. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which buttons to push, but keep doing it and you’ll figure it out.

One thing I don’t like about Lego Batman on Wii is I can’t complete the levels unless I’m playing with a friend because it’s kind of hard to figure out what to do. I don’t like getting stuck. It’s so frustrating! I don’t like when it’s hard to unlock new characters, and I don’t like when new characters are unlocked and I can’t figure out how to use their special powers.

Sometimes, Mom looks up game walk-throughs online so we can figure out what to do next. Fighting the boss criminals is super hard. It’s a good game for 6 year olds, but it’s more fun if they have help. If you want to play Lego Batman with your kids, you can find it on Amazon here.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Minecraft the Video Game (Xbox 360)

Amazon Product Name (APN): Minecraft (Xbox 360)

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

I like playing in creative mode on Minecraft the video game. Creative mode is where you can do everything, and don’t have to worry about dying from monsters. I hate creepers!

I like to build trains with Minecraft blocks, and I like going to Halloween World on Xbox Live and riding the roller coaster. Staying in creative mode in the Minecraft video game makes it a lot less scary when you’re playing in Halloween World, and on regular maps, too. I love playing co-op mode with Mom and Dad. Sometimes we can build villages together. Sometimes we clear the blocks so we can make trains.

What I don’t like: I don’t like playing in Survival Mode. I die a lot. I hate creepers! Creative mode on Minecraft the video game is a lot like the Minecraft card game. (You can read my review of the Minecraft card game here.)

I have been playing Minecraft the video game since I was 4 years old. It’s good for ages 4, 5, 6 and up. Adults can play this game, too. If you want to try playing Minecraft the video game with your kids, you can find it on Amazon here.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Paulmaglev YouTube Channel Review

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

I like to watch video game playthroughs on YouTube. Paulmaglev is one of my favorite YouTube people because he plays train games like Train Valley, Train Crisis and Trainz Trouble.

I like the way Paulmaglev talks about the game he’s playing, especially since he plays lots of train games and I love trains. Watching him play definitely makes me want to buy games. I watch Paulmaglev a lot and if you like train games you can watch him on YouTube, too. Watch Paulmaglev on YouTube here.

Note from Mom: Paul is a great YouTuber, and we let Robby watch his videos frequently. One thing to keep note of, is sometimes Paul gets frustrated with the puzzle games (don’t we all), so make sure you select videos that say For Kids in the description if you’re concerned with language.

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