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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Inmates review – PC Gamer

Need to know

What is it? A horror-themed walking sim.
Reviewed on: Windows 10, i7-6700k, 16GB RAM, GTX 1070
Price: £10/?7
Release date: Out now
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Davit Andreasyan
Multiplayer: None
Link: Official site[1] Inmates begins with some cool dream imagery that has nothing to do with the story at all, and will never be referenced again. When it’s over the protagonist, Jonathan, wakes up in a prison with no memory of how he got there.

He quickly discovers the horrifying truth: he’s trapped in a videogame with a lot of long corridors and no sprint button. It’s hard not to be glib about a game that makes so few attempts to be interesting. Sure, as I explored Jonathan’s prison I found the Zodiac killer’s alphabet, references to the Heaven’s Gate cult suicide and demonology, but nothing came of any of it.

Inmates is another horror game full of Biblical verses proclaiming doom and gloom, though it does subvert that cliche by being devoid of any religious insight. Jonathan’s predicament has no relation to any religion, nor do the motives of his enemies. Inmates has one meaningful reference: nearly every character’s head blurs back and forth in a clear nod to the film Jacob’s Ladder.

It’s the scariest thing in the entire game, which isn’t saying much.

Around 15 minutes in, it becomes incredibly obvious that the prison is inside Jonathan’s mind, and that the man masquerading as his doctor and the ghostly prison guard keeping him in are just other aspects of himself. It’s a premise that has been explored countless times before in films displaying variety and intrigue that’s lacking here.

The rest of the story is an exercise in tedium as Jonathan meanders through his mind-prison, solving easy puzzles while the voice pretending to be his doctor gives him his objectives that amount to “find keys” or “go somewhere.” I’m no great puzzle master, but I never found myself troubled by Inmates’ puzzles. Once, I was floating in a room.

In the middle was a door, and beyond the door were four levers. All I had to do was memorize the symbols on the door, then move the levers until I had found the matching symbols, and the door opened. That was the hardest puzzle in the entire game, but only because I didn’t immediately spot the levers.

The level design makes no attempt to reward exploration, because the bulk of Inmates takes place in a single square cell-block, gated by actual prison gates which require keys or scripted encounters to pass. Walk forward, open a cell door, read the note inside, step out, walk forward, and open the next cell door. Repeat until you’ve traversed the length of the cell block.

Occasionally, you’ll see spooky cliches painted on the wall, like “Home Sweet Home,” or get trapped in a cell, which you can leave when you solve one of Inmates’ simplistic puzzles. Inmates is eager to give its players matches, but they’re not worth using. In a game like Amnesia, which Inmates seems desperate to imitate, light sources serve as a way to retain your sanity, making them meaningful.

Inmates is not so clever–its matches are so bright that they make it harder to see the rest of the screen.

Mechanically, Inmates has very little going on for it. The lack of a sprint button seems to be a remedy for a bigger problem: an absence of any meaningful interaction.

Aside from solving a few puzzles, Jonathan spends all of his time walking and backtracking. The fearsome Roy, one of Jonathan’s other personalities, shows up at intervals to appear menacing. Roy scares Jonathan, but for players, his presence signals little more than story progression.

With no mechanical or narrative depth, Inmates has little to offer. I completed the game, unlocking every achievement, in a single 90-minute playthrough. Performance is acceptable for an Unreal 4-powered game, aside from the occasional minor stutter, and I experienced no major crashes or noticeable bugs in the 90 minutes it took me to complete the game.

Unfortunately, the options menu leaves a lot to be desired. When it comes to graphics, Inmates features the typical low, medium, and high graphical presets, as well as options for Vsync, brightness, and motion blur, but nothing beyond that. If there’s a way to change the resolution, I haven’t found it.

There is no way to rebind keys, though you can change look sensitivity and invert the mouse. Inmates’ biggest shortcoming is that it’s aggressively uninteresting. Rather than attempt a fresh take on worn-out tropes about dissociative identity disorder, Inmates repeats what came before.

References are made because they’re assumed to be scary, but they rarely matter.

Inmates has few scares or surprises to offer.

References

  1. ^ Official site (inmatesgame.com)

Find Children’s Clothing And More At Sherman Oaks’s New ‘Sap And Honey’

A new toy store and kids’ activity spot, offering children’s clothing and more, has opened up shop in the neighborhood. The newcomer to Sherman Oaks, called Sap and Honey[1], is located at 4317 Woodmen Ave. Sap and Honey bills itself as a “small, locally owned children’s boutique with a European bohemian flair.” At the shop, expect to see a variety of children’s clothing, toys and accessories for a variety of ages.

With a five-star rating out of two reviews on Yelp so far, the new store has been warmly received by patrons. Rebecca S., who was among the first Yelpers to review[2] the new spot on October 24th, said: “After stalking this store for months during their construction and I was so excited to see they opened up on Saturday!! This store is so perfectly curated, it feels like it’s been around for years.”

Yelper Catherine P. added[3]: “New favorite boutique in the neighborhood! It has everything I need in one place. Baby and toddler kids clothing.

It even has shoes!

One stop shop for this fashionable Mama.”

Head on over to check it out: Sap and Honey is open Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 10am-4pm.

References

  1. ^ Sap and Honey (9nl.es)
  2. ^ review (9nl.es)
  3. ^ added (9nl.es)

LA council reviews smoking ban, El Camino project

A proposal for an outdoor dining smoking ban and the approval of a height increase to accommodate an elevator tower on the 4880 El Camino Real project were among the agenda items discussed at last week’s Los Altos City Council meeting. The city originally placed the smoking-ban proposal on the consent calendar at the Oct.

24 meeting. However, during a public comment section at the beginning of the meeting, Los Altos resident Roberta Phillips requested that the item be pulled for discussion.

The council also reviewed a design change by the developer of 4880 El Camino Real to amend a previous rooftop height waiver. In 2016, the council approved the 21-unit multifamily residential project. But after selecting an elevator to transport residents to the rooftop garden, the developer returned to the council last week to ask for an extension of the elevator tower’s height.

City behind on limiting smoke

Councilwoman Jan Pepper led discussion of the proposed smoking ban by imparting her knowledge of a recent city association board meeting at which members reviewed the Santa Clara County Healthy Cities Initiative.

Pepper said that of all the cities in the county, Los Altos has done the least to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. “I find that appalling that here we are in a city that’s so concerned about health and fitness … that we are way behind all the other cities … in reducing exposure to smoke,” she said. Pepper read the six policy areas recommended by the initiative to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.

Los Altos received a checkmark for fulfilling only one of the policy areas – parks, trails and recreation. It did not receive checkmarks for outdoor dining areas/bars, entryways, service lines and areas, multiunit housing and public events. Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins suggested that the city include those five policy areas in the ordinance.

Bruins also asked to modify the ordinance title from an outdoor dining area smoking ban to smoke-free and tobacco-free environments in Los Altos. City Manager Chris Jordan said staff would rewrite the ordinance and return in approximately four weeks for review. Tensions rise over elevator tower

Under the state’s density-bonus law, which provides developers incentives to build affordable housing, councilmembers last year approved an incentive for a rooftop structure at 4880 El Camino Real, allowing the structure to rise 11 feet above the structural roof deck. Last week, however, the developer requested that the elevator tower extend an additional 5 feet, to 16 feet, 8 inches above the roof. City staff recommended approval of the extension, but the council didn’t seem so sure.

Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng expressed concern about the impact the height increase would have on Los Altos residents. “When council voted for this project, they voted to allow the garden on the premise that it would be served by a tower of 11 feet,” she said. “That was 3 feet taller than the code at that time. … The public trusts us.”

Mayor Mary Prochnow urged fellow councilmembers to move on from the lengthy discussion of the modified waiver. “We need to get going and build some housing,” she said. “The idea of stopping a project over 5 feet, whether we think it was their mistake, our mistake … I believe it’s almost ludicrous that the conversation is being held.”

The council voted 3-2 to approve the developer’s request, with Eng and Bruins dissenting.

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