Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Holdover Review


When i was searching through the far and wide internet i stumbled upon a really good obscure Japanese free indie game called Holdover:


Story: A girl named Marie was seriously injured in an accident and was carried quickly to the hospital. Her internal organs were heavily damaged and it was thought that she wouldn’t survive, however her father Tanner didn’t give up! He planned to use the newly developed automated medical capsule. The capsule is able to slowly restore a patient’s cells while keeping the person in a hibernated state.

However the treatment procedure takes a very long time, so when the patient wakes up it will have gone several decades since they went to sleep.

Also the international relations with different countries were degrading and war could break out at any moment. Tanner was really hesitant about putting Marie to sleep for such a long time under such conditions but in the end he decided to do it anyway and while Marie was sleeping a catastrophic war broke out and changed humanity forever.

So now it has gone decades since Marie was put to sleep and she awakens in a cold and lonely room. She has mostly recovered from the accident but the hibernation has weakened her body and she has problems breathing normally. Then she discovers a computer nearby that has a message for her, it’s her father Tanner that has left instructions on how she can recover from her weak body and tells her that she needs to seek out medicine that will give her back her strength.


The lonely, destroyed room and the healing capsule in the background

Marie has to find the medicine to restore her body and find a way out of this underground lab ruins so that she can survive.    

Gameplay: This game is an action, adventure, puzzle platformer. As i said earlier Marie is in a weakened state which gameplay wise means that she can’t jump very high (for now) and can’t hold her breath for a long time so you have to find the medicine that can cure her. Marie is equipped with what the game calls Nanothium alloy on her leg which is a medical equipment and can’t be removed, the thing is that the alloy is heavy which makes it impossible for Marie to swim which means gameplay wise that you have to be fast underwater and get to air spots before her air runs out.

As you may have figured out now there are many underwater sections in this game which are the parts of the game that makes it challenging. Many of the underwater sections have been designed to be near death experiences, what i mean is that you will die A LOT. You have to figure out how to get as fast you can through an underwater maze before you’re breath runs out.


You don’t say game.

Thankfully there is a way to upgrade you’re ability to breath underwater, you need to collect blue hearts that are scattered around the ruins and trust me readers you need to collect as many as possible, you won’t be able to progress the game without upgrading you’re breathing.

But the game doesn’t just have underwater sections (i have said that word a lot haven’t i ^_^;) it has alot of other traps such as spikes and laser turrets. Marie has no weapons so you have to just dodge the laser turrets line of sight but thankfully you can climb turrets as long as they don’t see you (pro tip there will be puzzles based on this).

Also when you are underwater you have meter on your upper left corner which starts to go down gradually BUT the meter goes down faster depending on how much you move underwater, for instance if you press left and right very fast then the meter will be zero in mere seconds and when the meter starts to get below 30 then Marie starts to move slower because she barely has any air left (a game where you’re body actually works like a real human body WHAT A CONCEPT!!! Probs for anyone who gets the reference).

This game is kind of like Metroid with exploring ruins and finding upgrades which will help you progress through the other parts of the ruins where you couldn’t go before.

Lastly the controls are simple you move with the directional arrows on your keyboard and you jump with the Z and examine and open doors with X. You hold down Shift to get to the menu and here you can either save or my favorite option of all time you can QUICK SAVE which means that you can save before trying out a puzzle that could kill you and if you die you just use quick load to get to the exact point where you saved, this feature is what really sets this game apart from other games since this game can be really challenging at certain points so to have an option that basically works as a save stat in an emulator is really REALLY nice.

Also every time you die from either spikes or lasers there will be blood stains on the background showing where you died (this can be turned off if you can’t take a little blood).  


Those laser turrets are really deadly and evil! >_<

One final note: Holdover contains some nudity (though nothing explicit as seen by the first pic in this review): when Marie is shot by a laser, her clothes fry off, so the game has a slight hentai feel although not really anything big. And of course you can restore your health and clothes, there are capsules scattered around the ruins which looks familiar to a Super Metroid save station.

Graphics: The graphics are really nice and feel like a tribute to the 16-bit generations Marie’s animation is smooth and looks good (if you know what i mean xD Yes i had to use that meme). The backgrounds may not vary a lot but they will give you the feeling of ruins so they are doing their job. The few “cut scenes” have nice portrait of the characters and if some parts of Marie's clothing is destroyed you can actually see it in her portrait (although as said nothing explicit).

Music: There aren’t many tracks in this game but the ones we have are in my opinion really nice and really set the mood that you are in ruins all alone. But when you go to the official download site you will hear this games main theme remixed and let me tell you I FREAKING LOVE IT!!! :D You may think it doesn’t seem like much now but when you have beaten the game you WILL appreciate it so much more and it’s free to download to! :D

Replay value: The game keeps track of how many times you have died and if you have collected every heart in the game (which in my opinion isn’t that hard at all) and how long time it took to beat the game. But other than that there isn’t so much other replay value in the game but for me it’s a really awesome game so i will definitely play this game through again.

Final Verdict: Holdover is a really simple game to play but it has some really satisfying puzzles and a fair challenge (especially because of the quick save feature!), it has an simple but awesome story and as you play you will learn little by little what kind of person Marie is and you will really start to care for her and want her to survive plus she is a pretty strong character, i mean instead of saying “I give up!” “I can’t do this!” or other “typical girlish” behavior she says “I won’t give up!” and actually tries to survive.

And you really get the feeling that Marie is just a human girl when you play with her being weakened and all but even though she is weakened it doesn’t get in the way for gameplay which makes it all the more satisfying to play it and grow stronger.

The game takes about three hours to complete depending on how good you are at puzzle solving and so on. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and it’s pretty long for a free game. Also this game didn’t make me angry although i died at certain points a lot just because it always was my own fault, either my reflexes were bad or my timing was off and that Quick save really helped a lot. There just doesn’t exist many games out there that can be really challenging without making the player angry and frustrated, major probs for the developer for achieving something that is almost impossible to do these days.   

In my book this game is a masterpiece, it has its own ideas and I haven’t been this satisfied playing through a game in a long time and best of all ITS FREEEEEEEEEEE!!!! (kaching!) How can you not love it! 10/10 hands down!

So here’s the link for the game and don’t worry readers the creator also translated this game to English! :D (Although it’s a bit engrish but that gives the game in my opinion more charm) it takes almost no place in the computer and probably every computer from the year 2000 and up can play it so no worries ^_^


And here’s a link for the download of the main theme playing on the official site:


Its number 20 and under the name there is a MP3 DL button. And as i said all of this is totally free!!!! :D

Check it out! 

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