The Quiet Collection

The Quiet Collection CoverDeveloper: Nostatic Software
First Release: August, 2015
Version Played: PS Vita
Length: Short
Available: Amazon US (Android) | Amazon UK (Android) | Apple (iPhone / iPad) | PS Store US (PS Vita) | PS Store UK (PS Vita)

A girl doesn’t like noise and distraction, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make it stop. Between her parents, little brother, noisy neighbour and kittens/cat, there’s a lot to sort out before she gets peace and quiet.

The Quiet Collection is a bundle of four short adventure games. The games are also available separately on some platforms. They are: “Quiet, Please!”, “Quiet Christmas”, “Vacation Vexation” and “Candy, Please!” They have old-school pixel graphics and the puzzles are based on picking up and combining objects. Only one object can be carried at once, so it takes a little thought to get everything together.

Though it might not have been intended, the concept reminds me of Sensory Processing Disorder. In “Quiet, Please!” she wants to sleep after getting home from school. But small things, like a ticking clock, are too distracting. Even good things, like her pet kittens, need to be out of the room so she can sleep. The methods of getting those things are sometimes mischievous, but I empathised with wanting to make things as quiet as possible.

“Quiet Christmas” is also at her house. This time, she’s getting things sorted so she can sleep and wake for Christmas. It’s similar to the first game in general size and complexity. It does highlight that one of the issues is people not listening to what she wants, as the neighbour continues to sing Christmas carols when she wants him to stop. He can’t imagine why she wouldn’t want him singing.

The third game starts to mix up settings, by taking the family away on holiday. “Vacation Vexation” also has three mini-games, based on arcade classics: Face Invaders (Space Invaders), Badger (Frogger) and Karate Battle. This one had its moments, but I preferred wandering around the house making things quiet to wandering around a beach resort.

“Candy, Please!” is back home for Halloween. It has a larger playing area, as it includes visiting the neighbours. The puzzles are also a little trickier to work out, as they mainly consist of putting together multiple costumes. It takes a little more thought to work out what might go together to make an outfit.

I enjoyed these mini adventures (each one will probably take under an hour). The puzzles and concept are domestic, focusing on the girl and her normal family routine. They’re nice little games for relaxing. It was fun to see some things progress, like the kittens growing up into a cat (I’m assuming the other two kittens were rehomed, rather than combining into one mighty cat, but the game doesn’t say). I didn’t encounter any bugs or other issues, though there are times when the game won’t allow a puzzle solution that would work in real life.

It is worth noting the time it takes to finish them. They’re short, and will play the same way each time, which might be a factor in how much you’re willing to spend on them. Also the character speech is text-only. It’s fairly chunky text, but may be difficult to read on some screens for some people.

If you’re looking for a little adventure game nostalgia, and something not too stressful, this is a nice collection of games.

Beyond Eyes

Developer: tiger & squid
First Release: 8th September, 2015
Version Played: PS4
Length: Short


Beyond Eyes is a short exploration game, about a girl called Rae going to find her missing cat friend.

The marketing descriptions for Rae’s backstory are a bit of a mess, and don’t line up with what’s stated in the game. In the game, Rae is blinded in a fireworks accident. She becomes reclusive, staying in her garden, as a reaction to the trauma of the accident. That summer, she befriends a cat she calls Nani. The seasons travel through to winter, Nani starts to visit less and less often, and by spring he’s disappeared. Rae heads out to find him.

The difference is the marketing versions say she’s been blind since she was a toddler. However, the game shows her as near the same age (and wearing the same clothes) when she has her accident. The passing of the seasons would make it about a year later when she heads out. This also fits better with her general level of skill in moving around. If she had been blind since she was a toddler, it would come across as strange that she wasn’t more skilled at moving around. This would mean she’d been blind for most of her childhood, which just doesn’t fit.

But anyway, if I hadn’t read those descriptions, I’d have said this takes place about a year later.

The strength of the game is the way the world is painted around Rae. As she uses her other senses to navigate, she imagines the world, and it appears around her. This means she sometimes gets things wrong, such as thinking cloth flapping in the wind is a clothesline, when it’s a scarecrow. She might imagine a gate as closed because it was when she first encountered it, but someone’s opened it since then. As this representation exists only in her mind, it’s also influenced by her current mental state. When she’s frightened, the colours are less bright. When she’s confused, areas can disappear.

Though there are some sadder/tenser moments, it’s overall a gentle experience. Rae’s world is an idyllic village with flowers and birds singing, rendered in watercolour. The threats she faces are common ones, such as crossing the road or a loud dog.

I liked that Rae’s accident was not portrayed as the end of her life. Withdrawal is a normal (though not the only) response to trauma. The key here is it’s also showing her facing that, by leaving to find Nani. Life carries on.

There were two things I noted as not ideal in the portrayal of blindness. It’s odd that Rae’s eyes are closed all the time. Even in cases where the eyes are removed, the eyelids are not usually sewn shut in humans. I wonder if this was done to avoid showing damaged or absent eyes. The second point also doubles as a gameplay issue. There’s a misconception that blind people can’t move quickly. That blind children don’t run when they play, adults never run for the bus, and even a fast confident walk is seen as out of the question. This isn’t true. It’s natural for someone who is re-learning how to navigate to be cautious, but slow movement speed is not inherent to being blind.

The gameplay issue being Rae moves slowly all the time. For the initial exploration, this speed is fine. But it gets painful when backtracking to explore all the areas, which isn’t a good gameplay choice for an exploration game. It makes sense both from a real world perspective, and a game perspective, to have her pick up the pace in areas she’s already been. Even a cautious child is going to move faster going back down the path she knows is fine. It also would have been a nice touch if her basic walk had slowly increased in speed during her adventure, as she got more confident.

In terms of gameplay, I would have liked more events. There were some already in the world, such as being able to feed flowers to a cow, and finding memories of Nani. But there were also places that felt empty. Some of these had objects that could have triggered events. I didn’t feel the balance of things to find, versus the time taken to explore, had been hit.

Accessibility options for blind players would have been good, such as the option to have a narrator reading the story (it’s text only) and controller vibrations when hitting obstacles. Also worth noting the undiscovered areas are white, which can be a migraine or motion sickness trigger for some people. If you’re in that category, keeping game sessions short is advisable.

Overall, Beyond Eyes is a nice addition to the exploration genre. It has some strong points, such as the way the world is painted from Rae’s perception and the beautiful artwork. I would have liked a faster backtracking speed and more things to find, but this didn’t stop me enjoying it. Fans of quieter exploration games and walking simulators are likely to enjoy the game. It took me around six hours to finish everything, including reruns for trophies.

First Impressions of Wii Fit

Wii FitWii Fit is outside of the sort of games I normally play/review. But it was in the house and I don’t pass up free stuff. For those who don’t know what it is, Wii Fit is an exercise game for the Nintendo Wii console. It comes with a board that measures your movements as you stand on it.

Why Use It?

The game is mainly marketed at people wanting to lose weight or get fit. I’m in neither category. But I do have issues with balance (I have some ear problems) and flexibility (genetics… I was the kid who couldn’t touch my toes). I’m reviewing the game based on how well it handles those things, rather than the fat burning potential.

Weight-In and Goals

The first thing it* does is take some personal details, including a weigh-in session. After getting through all that, I set my goal to gain/lose 0 pounds in two weeks. You can at least by-pass the weight loss thing in that way.

Fit Piggy

I want a fit piggy (the thing that records how long you’ve been exercising). I think it’s a shame you only get the sentient board with the pack. I’d like a real fit piggy. It’d make a cute clock.

On to Real Exercise

I started with a fat-burner as a warm-up. They have a hula hoop game, which seemed like it’d be warm-up and some flexibility. It was quite fun. If I dropped the hoop, it’d give me a new one and I could carry on. It didn’t end early because I messed up. However, it didn’t tax me from the aerobic exercise point of view.

I did well on the basic yoga (flexibility), though I don’t think I could do anything harder than the ones I tried for awhile. It isn’t really a game, but it explains it simply. I didn’t have a problem following the directions and I could feel the strain on the muscles.

I tried skiing and tight-rope walking for balance. I didn’t do that well on either, though I had one lucky break on the tight-rope… I managed to stay on it till the time ran out. I wasn’t so impressed with the balance games. The two I tried were frustrating for someone with poor balance. Skiing was easy to fail completely. It didn’t reward partial success. Tight rope walking restarted the game every time I failed. Having to restart every ten seconds isn’t fun. Possibly some of the other games are better… I want a starter game more like hula hoops, where a failure means a point reduction rather than ending the game.


Fit PiggyThe most obviously working thing was the yoga. I could feel the affect on my muscles on the first attempt. I liked the fact the games had a little monitor to show if you were moving correctly. It made it easier to correct posture and balance.

The balance games weren’t the best for starter games. I wanted a game that didn’t restart when I fell. With that said, I think they’ll work in time. I did see an improvement using the tight rope walking, even if it took a lot of restarting to get there.

As far as general aerobic exercise goes, I’m not so convinced. My level of overall fitness was too high to benefit… I wouldn’t be able to maintain my current fitness levels with this device. I get far more exercise from walking and bouncing**. I can see it would help someone at the early stages of an exercise routine, but people should be aware they’ll need to move on to other forms of exercise at a later date. The reviews I’ve seen have glossed over this point.

And I want a fit piggy clock.

* ‘It’ is an animated, talking, version of the board you stand on. I’m suspicious of that talking board. I usually like my gaming devices to be non-sentient, especially if I’m trampling on them.

** Some might loosely refer to this as dancing. There’s music. And there’s jumping up and down. So it might qualify.