Nidhogg 2 - A PSVG Review

Let’s do this review proper. Push play.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin!

What is Nidhogg 2?

Coming into this review, I had never played Nidhogg, so the sequel was a brand new experience for me. The easiest way to describe this game is fencing/dueling tug-of-war. After a brief stint of character customization, players are matched up head to head (or against the CPU) with the end goal to make it through several screen of your opponents territory to an eventually end point. Only then can you claim victory, and also death, by being devoured in one gulp by the majestic Nidhogg.

(fun fact, it stems from  Norse Mythology )

(fun fact, it stems from Norse Mythology)

You have a variety of weapons at your disposal: a saber, broadsword, bow, and dagger. Each plays a bit differently and provides a variety over-the-top ways to slay your opponent. That is really Nidhogg 2 in a nutshell.

What’s in the Game?

What has been described above is really the essence of this game. It’s a simply formula that really plays out best depending on your opponent. Game options are simple enough, as a single-player, you may choose to play what amounts to “arcade mode”, playing through each stage in sequence against a CPU opponent. This taught me how to play the game, but really left me wanting more in terms of an actual experience. Great, there is an online mode, let’s find game! No dice. I’m afraid either the community has already moved on, or there just isn’t one large enough in place on the Nintendo Switch. I was upset. I really wanted to give this game an open mind, but my experience felt so stale based on the options I had access to, then….I took my Switch to a friend’s house… That is where this game truly shines, Nidhogg 2 almost requires local multiplayer. Within minutes we were shrieking, taunting, and killing each other over and over as we battled towards the glorious death only the Nidhogg could offer. What would be a simple 1-3 minute match against the CPU was upwards to 15 minutes or more as we struggled back and forth from once screen to the next. It truly was a tug-of-war and many laughs were shared between the two of us. This is how this game was always meant to be played.

So What are the Drawbacks?

While Nidhogg 2 was a fun experience, it’s those elements that make it fun that I also feel hinder it. Multiplayer is a must. If you don’t have access to someone local, online is an option, but you are missing out on that interaction, which is so vital. There is no single-player offering of note, so don’t even go into this expecting it. The spawning system can also be a bit frustrating at times. If only player already has momentum in the match and is rapidly moving through a screen, you are often dumped in with little time to react or invincibility frames to protect you. This would lead to a quick death and more progress from your opponent. Perhaps this is just an exploitable tactic that we discovered early on or merely a design decision from the developers? I’m not sure. The weapon match ups also leave a bit to be desired. I found myself really only wanted the saber or broadsword as they were “OP” compared to other options. There is the option to customize those setting before the match, so at least the player can negate those. Lastly, I’m just not a fan of the visuals here. The original game had a very simple almost “Atari” like style.

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It was clean, simple, and easy to focus. Maybe its just that nostalgia that bites me? The sequel jumps so far forward with its colors and depths of design. The backgrounds are lush and detailed, but the characters just look….gross. I can’t quite put my finger on why I dislike the character design so much, but if there was a slight deviation there, I would not be disappointed.

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The End

Overall, there are more hits than misses when looking at the whole of Nidhogg 2. I don’t think there is enough game here that you will be coming back over and over BUT what IS HERE makes for a great “party game” experience that is well worth taking a look at. I feel that the $14.99 price tag is accurate and if you have a local or even an online play buddy that is interested, you should give this game a go. Let me know how many laughs you have.

Nidhogg 2 was reviewed using a eshop code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

Review: State of Mind (Xbox One)

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  • Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Reviewed On: Xbox One, releases August 15th, 2018
  • Also playable on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & PC

Note: The review embargo for State of Mind is today, Monday August 13th 2018 however the developer, due to State of Mind's focus on narrative and storytelling, has asked that we hold any video footage after the game's introduction until the game releases on the 15th. This post will be updated with more video content on Wednesday.

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Out this Wednesday is the latest point-and-click adventure game State of Mind from German developer & publisher Daedalic Entertainment. Daedalic, since it's creation in 2007, has been making a name for itself as a standout in the narrative adventure & point and click genre with highlights such as the Edna & Harvey series, The Pillars of the Earth and the tactical turn-based RPG series Blackguards.

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When mind and machine become one – what will remain of humanity? That's the core theme at the heart of State of Mind's journey. The narrative adventure is set in dystopian Berlin, Germany 2048. Society's on the brink of collapse as poverty, illness, lack of resources, and robotics threaten the human way of life. Is there hope, salvation to be found? A colony on Mars? Super AI? Trans-human adaptation and Virtual Reality? Government Conspiracy? Does any of these intrigue you, strike your fancy? If so, I'm willing to bet you'd really enjoy the story that State of Mind sets out to tell. There are similarities to Blade Runner, I, Robot, Ready Player One, Surrogates or Ex Machina if you're looking for them so if that's your kinda story this is your kind of game. The plot, the focus and main offering to be had with State of Mind, is a fun one but also difficult to dance around and avoid spoiling any of the fun. Let me just say the following:

  • If you think you know where it's going? You don't. Trust me.
  • For me, the ending was worth the journey to get there.
  • The best parts, as with all adventures, is in the details, the sub-plot and supporting characters so take your time and READ everything. It's a slow burn State of Mind that peels away layer after layer with ever rock you turn over.
  • You'll control several characters which allows the player to experience the story from multiple perspectives.
  • It's a mature, adult themed game thus the M rating (17+) a rating I agree with, definitely not suitable for the kiddos.
  • In total, I think my main campaign took me about 8-9 hours to complete over a 2 day period taking time to capture video/moments along the way.

Visually State of Mind is intriguing. The characters are all created out of this polygonal-triangle makeup that reminds me of how characters looked back in the early days of 3D graphics in the 90's, but much much MUCH better. Actually, considering the theme, it's a great fit as the character models add to the tech-y, sci-fi scheme most of the game is going for with most of its more impressive and stylized, grungy, neon lit environments. It's unique and a standout for me during my playtime. Several times during the game I used the left stick to just pan across the world around me. My only complaint with the visuals is that I wish there were more variations of NPC models present in several environments like the club, workplaces, streets and sidewalks. It's definitely noticeable more than once that a crowd was really more like 3-4 characters duplicated over and over (really, why are so many of the male characters wearing the same infinity scarf?). The overall use of textures, color and shapes is a simple but impressive one and definitely hits the science-fiction, almost cyber-punk scenery I believe the developers were trying to accomplish.

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As an adventure game built around point-and-click commands you already know what the gameplay consists of. You'll walk around, reading / interacting with objects and characters unlocking clues you'll use to progress the story along. Par for the course right? Thankfully, Daedalic has thrown in an OT flavored curve-ball to alleviate the repetitiveness that comes with the formula so often. Throughout my campaign at times I took control of drones that required a FPS-like mini-game or stealthily eavesdropping a conversation. There's also some minor hacking, phone calling, and several environmental picture-based puzzles that largely shake you from my one gameplay complaint, the walking. While never a deal breaker, you'll spend most of your time in State of Mind walking from location to location, character to character, and item to item and I must admit the floaty, tank-like walking controls weren't the best I've experienced. Characters feel like they have a large/wide turning area and even the smallest objects obstruct your path which combined had me stuck on corners or running into and along walls and other boundaries. I do wish there were more action-oriented moments to be had in the story as they're definitely the highlight of the campaign, but I also understand the slower, more investigative chapters enhance the chaos later on.

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I played State of Mind on Xbox One X where it performed pretty smooth throughout the game. There were only a couple, minor, seconds at a time where I thought I recognized some slowdown. I did get stuck on a couple elements of the environment, mainly desks/chairs in the office spaces that required me rebooting the last save point but the saves are generous and it only happened twice. Chapters, environments, and scenery load times were pretty reasonable, no more than 20-30 secs or so each time. I'm most intrigued to find out how the game performs on Nintendo Switch as there's just not a comparable experience to be found on Nintendo's handheld. Xbox and PlayStation have similar games from Tacoma, Fragments of Him and Firewatch. State of Mind could be a stand-out for Switch owners looking for a narrative game to get invested into if the frame rate and load times are reasonable.

I'll look to update this review with some Switch coverage as its made available from other outlets.

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I'm quite impressed with the story and experience State of Mind offers. The characters were believable, and as much as they can be in a dystopian, science-fiction setting... grounded. Humans are human, they're flawed and live complex, messy lives just like we do. The result is a storyline that I was invested in on a personal and global level. Additionally, I really enjoyed the linear gameplay. In a world with more and more complex decision and skill-trees, State of mind keeps you focused on the task at hand and moving forward. Unlike other adventure games / walking sims, you won't find yourself lost or not knowing what to do often.

The elephant in the room for many gamers, I believe, rests with the asking price of $40. A lot has been said this generation about the demise of the middle "B-Tier" games with the rise of mobile and independent game development, but that's kind of  the space where State of Mind is trying to fit into. The story's really good and so is the art and style, but it's not at a level above and beyond an Edith Finch, Firewatch, or an Everybody's Gone To the Rapture all of which launched at much lower prices.

Should you dare to buy in from the start or wait for a sale, I think you'll find a rewarding weekend of linear-adventure gaming with a neat, boundary pushing story.

Final Verdict 78/100

Flipping Death: The PSVG Review

flipping death banner.png Welcome to Flatwood Peaks, a small whimsical town with a problem – Death is on vacation. Play as Penny and help trapped ghosts with your trusted scythe. Flip the entire world around to solve puzzles on both the living and the dead side and slowly uncover the mystery surrounding your own demise. Key Gameplay Features ● Unique mix of adventure and platforming set in a twisted, rich and colorful world ● Flip the entire world with the press of a single button! ● Possess the living and use them to solve puzzles ● Innovative physics combined with an immersive story told over several different chapters ● Spiritual successor to our previous well-received game Stick it To The Man!

Check out our Review Done Quick Here:

Release date: August 7, 2018. Price: $19.99 / €19.99 Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam (PC) Languages: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish Developer and publisher: Zoink Games

You can also watch Donnie's stream of the first hour if you want further details:

Switch Review: The Lion's Song

  • Developer: Mi'pu'mi Games
  • Publisher: Mi'pu'mi Games
  • Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch, released today July 10th, 2018
  • Also playable on: Google Play, Apple iOS, STEAM/PC

Final Verdict

I very much enjoyed my play through of The Lion's Tale. At times the story is filled with moments that have impactful resonance and I think many players will find at least one or two themes they can latch onto. The artsy foundation melds well with the sound design, style, and storytelling to provide a mature, thought provoking experience.



Switch Review: Miles & Kilo

Jason has finished his review of Miles and Kilo, out now on Nintendo Switch. Looking for more information? Be sure to listen into this week's Nintendo Shack episode with N64 Josh to hear more discussion for Miles and Kilo - Shack - N64 Josh

Also down below is the official trailer for Miles and Kilo. The game is only $7.99 and can be purchased on the Nintendo eShop.

Soccer Slammers Review for Nintendo Switch

Donnie had the opportunity to review Soccer Slammers, the latest game from Atooi, the developer behind Mutant Mudds, Chicken Wiggle and Xeodrifter. What did he think about this arcade button-smashing soccer game? Watch below to find out.

Also, if you'd like to watch Donnie and his son Jack check out the local coop, watch the let's play video.

You can buy Soccer Slammers here on Nintendo's website.

Follow the Atooi team to keep up with the latest on Chicken Wiggle and Treasurenauts.

Subsurface Circular [Switch] Review

See the source image The game — really a visual novel with light puzzle-solving elements through text — was released recently on the Switch, after coming out last year on Steam. It’s a short story from Mike Bithell, the creator behind Thomas Was Alone and Volume.

Bithell is one of my favorite indie creators, and Subsurface Circular fits in well with his previous work, despite being a functionally different game. The story is immediately engaging, moves fast and doesn’t get bogged down by things that don’t matter.

The player’s bot — known as James in my playthrough, though there are other choices — is a detective that begins investigating an off-the-grid case proposed to him by a fellow traveller, who is sad because a friend has disappeared.

During the ride you come into contact with a robot nanny, priest, soldier and more, as the story fills in the gaps on just how robots are used in this future society. There are easter eggs for fans of Bithell’s prior work, as well as some other current pop culture references.

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The tale comes to a satisfying conclusion, with an interesting take on the future of artificial intelligence and its role in society.

My only detraction in the game is that the text would sometimes pause during the flow of conversation. While this makes sense in the narrative, it felt at times like the pauses were simply padding the length of this brief game.

Subsurface Circular comes with a couple extras, such as director commentary and artwork examples. The music, too, is unobtrusive but fits in the game world.

I wholeheartedly recommend Subsurface Circular to fans of Bithell’s previous games, as well as science fiction and visual novels. It’s wholly text-based, so may not appeal to some, but if you give it a shot, I think you’ll find a thoughtful story worth experiencing.


Bayonetta [Switch] Review

See the source image Considering that this game came out in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 originally, I wasn’t going to make that distant leap to review what technically is a nine-year-old game. This game is older than most of the PSVG’s children, for goodness sakes. However, after being asked about it by PSVG’s Amanda and then snoring about halfway through my explanation, I felt that I had no choice but to release onto the masses about what it was like for me to experience Sega’s wonky adventure on the Switch platform.

Before I continue, however, I do want to warn that this article will contain adult themes. Children, shield your eyes and run to your parents. Adults, turn away from your work computers and wait til the dark of night. It’s not going to be vulgar (despite it being one of the most swear friendly games since Conker’s Bad Fur Day) but there will be some special snowflake-unfriendly topics that will discuss sexualization specifically. Please, if you’re not in the mood for that kind of talk- run, run far away, Simba, and never return to this review again.

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So for those in a similar boat as myself, Bayonetta is one of Sega’s cult classic games that went unappreciated by most but not all, captivating a fairly decent cliche of people who were lured by the charm of this game. As such, Sega tries to recapture this about once every four years to cash in on some free money, and now that the cycle continues on the Nintendo Switch I took the chance to see what the heck is going on.

Having seen Bayonetta only on Super Smash Brothers and mentioned only in closeted conversation, I had no idea what to expect. Some friend (who I don’t even remember the name of but clearly isn’t a friend any more thanks to this scenario) had mentioned that I would LOVE this game and that it was about empowering women by having a strong protagonist lady take the stage and mess up anyone she damn pleases. While this is loosely correct, I feel like the person had done what I did and simply stared at the game art and said “Wowee! This girl kicks butt!”


And then I played the game, and now I understand what Bayonetta is.

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Bayonetta is a masterful artwork that has so many gaping holes in the painting that it is nearly impossible to get the appreciation it should deserve if it actually spent more time developing the story than creating more detailed dancing scenes and porting the freaking game. When the game shines, it shines like the brightest flame of WTFness that I have seen in a very long time, but it is quickly bogged down by horrifying moments of lagging gameplay and story progression.

Let’s take it from the top and work our way down though, shall we? It starts off with a wild epic moment where you’re testing out the chaotic fighting nature of the game where our heroine is duking out with another character amongst a small plethora of angelic enemies, where your weaponry consist of guns, gun equipped heels, and both hair, suit, and shadow based demonic entities shaped in things like fists and high heel boots. You’ve seen the pictures, people; she’s fighting like a lethal acrobat where every blow is deliberate from her head to her toes, with hell at her fingertips and bullets coming any which way she pleases. Oh, there was some serious story plot of foreshadowing that I didn’t get to take in because of intense fighting and low narrator volume. Immediately afterward, we get a five-minute slapstick comedy scene introducing the initial characters meant to be the cool guy, the comic relief, and the superstar all in one swoop. All in contract with the forces of hell in some shape or form, they really love killing the game’s equivalent of angel bad-guys and trying to find out why Bayonetta has plot-convenient amnesia.

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The entire plot of the story? Figure out Bayonetta’s past (and if you ever heard of the Sega’s other amnesia driven game, Shadow the Hedgehog, you would cringe at the thought that this is the premise) as well as figure out why everyone wants her dead (or alive specifically). She doesn’t show much stress about her predicament, given she doesn’t show a negative emotion beyond annoyance for most of the game and she appears content murdering anything with a halo on it.

Seriously though, that is the plot. This goes on for hours with loosely tied characters saying “heh heh you’ll understand later in the game” and she responds with “lol ok I’m just going to travel the world and kill stuff until someone says otherwise” and it is infuriating. The first “Bayonetta” game and “developed storyline” cannot be contained truthfully in a single sentence without losing journalistic integrity and it was a major blow to my hopes for this game when people talked so great about it.

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What helps redeem it, however, is the combat and the different methods of execution given to me for both waves of enemies and bosses alike. Having to learn how to slow time to a crawl by perfect dodging a vicious attack and memorizing the right button to mash when pulling off a finisher on a particular enemy left me satisfied. While often sadistic in her methods of taking out angels, she is comical about the way she fancies each and every creature’s demise. One enemy can be finished by the wooden horse torture rig fitted with steel, spikes, and chains, whereas another can be kicked into an iron maiden. Hell, sometimes it feels like she’s toying with a boss during the actual fight before she does some overly intricate dance and using her suit/hair to create a demonic aberration to finish off the foe. Her method of dispatching the final boss was so hilarious that it made me forgive the past hour of annoying platforming and tedious dialogue.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that the combat is perfect, either. More often than not I was left dumbfounded because, after ten minutes of uninterrupted cutscene, I am suddenly tasked with a button prompt that I swiftly fail and instantly die. It’ll happen in the most random moments of discussion or battle that immediately ends the battle no matter how well I was doing and it was hair rippingly bad. What made things worse was the icon to show the button prompt would show the direction and button to push (for example, up and B) but the picture of the controller would show a different button on the controller to press (Up and X). Combined with the need to be precise on the timing, it would take me several times to figure what the heck I was doing wrong. The game is kind enough to tally your deaths up to five times on the game over screen, and the most often phrase heard in the game is some old granny seer shouting “The Shadow Remains Cast!” every time I select to continue. It sucked.

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Sometimes Platinum Games (which I would honestly give full credit to as the developers as they made the damn game) would decide that the combat was getting too tedious and they needed to buffer the gameplay length with... extra activities. Mostly arcade driving simulators, whether it be cars, motorbikes, or rockets. Just fifteen minute long drives of the same track of the level where your goal is to not die and shoot the same enemies over and over again. My personal least favorite, however, is Angel Attack. Oh man, I love how just hearing that title makes me grit my teeth. Who would have thought a ten-second game you’re forced to play after every single level could be so annoying? Being told to shoot at targets for prizes that are crap, for over a dozen times, made me blow all my shots in a second or quit the game so I can get on with my life.

I think there are only about five memorable songs in this whole game, but they’re placed at the most opportune times and I quickly dismiss the repetition and enjoy the atmosphere it creates.

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Lastly, I wanted to express concern about Bayonetta’s taste in… style. As someone who might want to remain anonymous has told me, this game is ‘a Japanese boy’s wet dream’. Our woman Bayo wears a skin-tight suit that often evaporates to become the super demon thing, leaving her as exposed as the Mature rating can allow. She portrays her attacks in cutscenes often by crop shots of her pubic region or bosom colliding with an enemy before she gratifies herself while defeating foes. She does things to a strawberry flavored sucker that would make your local church pastor drop his jaw. She does not give two craps how sexual she acts during her time in the game and amazingly enough, only one person seems to act perverted towards her. Perhaps due to the lack of characters, the developers can create a separate, perfect reality where what she does is perfectly acceptable and it is shameful of me to express distaste. However, this game is not a real alternative world and I’ll be damned if a Japanese video game company, under the jurisdiction of the same publisher that made Yakuza no less, can convince me that they made a next level empowered feminist and I should ignore that she is mentally pleasure humping three-quarters of the bad guys in this game.

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Unfortunately, if I kept writing about my love-hate relationship with Bayonetta it would be on course for a book with more detail than the whole game’s plot, and so I’m going to call it here with another summary of some sort. Did I like the game? Definitely, but I felt I spent more time playing in hopes of finding something fun than actually taking in the game itself. Beating it felt like a sigh of relief rather than a triumphant victory screech, but I respect that the game offers wonderful entertainment when it wants to. As I have just started Bayonetta 2, I sincerely hope they improve on how they deliver the entirety of the game to us (again, considering it came out years ago on the Wii U) and I hope to one day understand why people love this game.


Also, I technically got this for free with Bayonetta 2 so my opinions are freely based on this. If I had paid sixty dollars for a port of this, I would be just a taaaaaaad more aggressive. Just a tad.


Monster Hunter World: Review in Transit

See the source image It has been awhile since I dusted my keyboard off for something that wasn't the OT or my special piece (listen to the podcast for more info). However, after a lot of conversation it just felt like it was time to pull up to the desk, grab a cup of coffee, and talk to you the amazing people who come to PSVG. Thank you so much for your time and I hope you find this fun and informative.

I had already pre-ordered the collectors edition of Monster Hunter World a few months ago. I was more or less excited for it I mean you know me, collectibles are kind of my thing! I was also lucky enough to get a two-fer! Dragon Ball Z Fighters also came out same day and I had pre-ordered the collectors of that.

The collectors edition was not up to my standards and was kind of upsetting just from the stand point of what I got but that is a topic for another story. So on launch day I opened up the box, put the game in, and began downloading. A few minutes later (thank you Spectrum and Xbox) I was in game running around searching for meaning.

25 hours later I am comfortable giving my initial impressions and a score that will change as I get farther in game. Lets dive into the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.


The things this game do well are numerous. Character customization is top tier and something I am still blown away. Being able to design your character but also your Palico is just fantastic but it goes even further. You can also design your player card in game and share it with people you come across in game. The level of detail this game goes into is just incredible and I find myself spending time at the hubs just looking at the menus and seeing what all I can do.

The story was a weakness for me in some areas, but what I do like is that it doesn't try to be something its not. So far no crazy love story or journey of redemption. You are a hunter who is sent to hunt. Easy right. You meet some good characters, no great ones yet, but they are good and I find the whole story arc to be intriguing so far.

The game play is fluid which is huge for a game like this. Being able to attack the target you choice with the push of button, scroll between enemies quickly, and craft/scavenge to get new stronger gear is an excellent added incentive for these maps.

The Monsters are numerous and diverse. You can't go into every fight the same or you will find them harder and harder to conquer. Paying attention to what gear you have and what its strengths and weaknesses are vs your current prey is huge.

No Map feels the same. They are diverse, unique, and numerous. I have had more fun getting lost on these levels trying to find certain craft able materials then I had in exploring the last three open world games I played.



I feel like I may be in the small portion of gamers who feels this, but having a silent protagonist just drives me nuts. Give me dialogue options in game. The story is good, I just want to be able to take part in it by saying, "Hey, maybe we shouldn't do that?" or "I love you!" By giving my character who does almost all of the work the ability to say something, is huge to me.

The SOS system needs a way to track player skill. Not level mind you, skill. I have sent SOS in game where I am calling for help vs certain Monsters. Some of these people help me and we enjoy the gear. More often than not though, I have had people join me who die repeatedly and cost me the 30 min or more I have been fighting this monster and I have to restart the quest.

The Lore is hard to find. A kin to Destiny one, there is a huge back story to these games. I just need to be able to find it better instead of getting pieces here in cut scenes. I am a story fanatic and I just want more of it.


THE UGLY: (The raw feeling I have at the end)

This game changed once I was willing to put in the work. Learning different attacks, finding the best set of armor for my play style, and using my Palico to help me in battle. Using my attack lock became a must and I am so grateful that I had some great people to play with. This game is a community driven experience. I am sure you can play alone and find some joy in but there is nothing like tackling a huge monster together and the absolute euphoria after you capture or defeat them.


If you need some one to play with you can hit me up on Xbox at The CoachHulk and I would love to help you through the game. This is end of my initial impressions. More to come as I get farther into the game. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope even more to see you on the battlefield together. Thank you and have fun gamer.

WedNESday- The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants

See the source image 1991 was an excellent year for quality video games.  We got Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the Simpsons arcade game!  Also released in 1991 was The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants, a lackluster platformer from Imagineering and Arc Developments and released on the NES by Acclaim, who was primarily known for localizing mediocre imports and aggressively acquiring otherwise-talented developers such as Iguana (NBA Jam and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter).  They closed down in 2004 after shifting the focus of operations primarily to sports games, a fight it obviously lost to EA, and one it probably shouldn’t have ever picked in the first place.

As for Bart vs. the Space Mutants on the NES, Acclaim’s title of “First Company to License and Release a Simpsons Game” didn’t last very long as Konami’s aforementioned Simpsons arcade game was released months later and made Space Mutants look like Space Invaders by comparison.  Bart vs. The Space Mutants is a fairly traditional platformer for the time, and while it showed promise with its idea, the execution left much to be desired.

Aliens have invaded Springfield and it is up to Bart to rescue his family and thwart the interstellar aggressors’ very, very stupid plans.  Each stage is a collectathon with a quota and once that number is achieved, you walk right for a very long time, and fight a boss.  It’s simple on paper, but playing it is another story.  This game is hard; very, very hard.  Bart’s hitbox is insanely big given some of the obstacles with moving objects lined up so perfectly you can barely fit under them and jumps that are clumsy and easily misjudged.  Getting items is also a crapshoot as they are often hidden in strange places.  Good luck ever beating this game without a guide.  Possibly with some trial and error you could figure parts of the game out, but it is designed with no clarity as to what you have to do much of the time.

The worst of all of the stages is the very first one.  The mission laid out for you is to get rid of all of the purple objects in the world.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, Iguana decided to be jerks, adding special items to use to clear certain objects out.  For instance, an unreachable bird in a tree can only be scared off by using a bottle rocket that you have to buy from a store using coins you collect in the world.  You have to prank call Moe from a payphone and you have to walk across clothes lines to drop hanging sheets over purple toys in backyards.  It all resembles a point and click adventure game at times, and while I would say that is a good thing, it just doesn’t fit with the style of game that frames the concept.  To make matters worse, the first stage is really the only level like this as the rest of the levels are just straightforward collect quests with objects you have to pick up strewn clearly throughout each stage.  The decision to make a cryptic puzzle platformer for only one stage is baffling to me.

Other problems exist as well, such as wonky, floaty controls that simply do not feel right.  Jumping can cause you to feel like Bart is drifting to the side at times, which is frustrating when you are trying do dodge projectiles or land precision jumps.  Also, it is not uncommon to come across platforms that seem like they shouldn’t be platforms at all, such as the top of a small door window or the base of a sign.  Other nonsensical design decisions include sentient ballet slippers that flutter up and down and a character resembling Principal Skinner riding inside of a giant boot!  Even the plans make little sense.  Aliens do not stop at randomly placing purple objects in the world.  No, they also place horrific monstrosities such as hats and balloons!  The people of Springfield will never know what hit ‘em…

Bart vs. the Space Mutants is bad.  It has a few good ideas that could have worked in the right hands, but what we got was a frustratingly-difficult platformer that is overlong and repetitive.  There is no excuse for an NES platformer like this to be this long, but the trek to the end of the stage after collecting all of the items seems like an eternity.  Making matters worse are repetitive visuals that do recreate the world of Springfield but still do not convey any form of interesting game design.  It just doesn’t work as a platformer.  The controls are off and the missions are just too vague.

For collectors this game is a scrap.  Bart vs. the Space Mutants will run you around $5 if you buy it at value.  Even then, there’s a good chance you’ll see this one for as low as $2-3 online at times.  It’s a perennial dust-collector at retro games outlets, and it is regarded by those of us who grew up at the time as one of the most villainous NES titles ever released as it taunted you to try to beat it, but for most of us this just wasn’t going to happen…


Nightmare Boy [Switch] Review

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Looks like the next S2S title for PSVG to take a look at is The Vanir’s Project’s latest work, Nightmare Boy. As per the usual, Nightmare Boy has been out for a while on the PC platform, giving the developers a healthy chance to fix bugs and smoothly port over to the Nintendo console.

Also per the usual, it’s one of those games I never heard of thanks to Valve’s horrifying game representation system and with that frame of mind, I can assume that being a single player platformer, the game is at risk of not being well known by the masses. I am here to fix that, for better or worse. Check it out!

So, the game starts with some well put music and hand-drawn animation as Billy, our game’s protagonist is reading some obscured book when his own pillow, teeth jutting out from the side, turns into some nightmarish demon and decides that our boy is the perfect candidate for a wild scheme in some fantasy world called Donoruk. Some nasty funk happened with the king and his now-dead son, who strikes a remarkable resemblance to the newly transformed Billy. Having not  a darn clue as to why he’s in the new world and what he needs to do, Billy is forced to traverse a Metroidvania-esque realm riddled with monsters, trippy bosses, and an assortment of interesting character who are more than happy to assist- and hinder- Billy’s progress to get back home.Once I’m left to my own device to battle through the B-cast of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, I immediately realized that I didn’t know the controls and there wasn’t any tutorial, although to be fair the inputs are simple enough, if not awkwardly positioned on the joycons. I did not find any way to reconfigure them, unfortunately, forcing me to deal with how to jump and attack.


Playing it mostly in handheld mode, I also noticed that it suffered the same quality as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in that it began to chug and drop frame rates more often than anyone would prefer. The music is ambient and fluid as you ramble about, and the dialogue is decent with occasional moments of ingenuity. I was kind of upset with the relationship with Death though, as it’s a lowkey save station with little to no dialogue. The dude is Death. Give him some personality, not some secretary job with the same twelve words to say every time he charges me (increasingly) to save your progress. That being said, it did feel like the characters important to the plot were shallow at best, and one-noted at worst, and left the dialogue desperately needing more depth in the beginning. That’s a personal squabble, however, and if you feel a deeper plot is not as important as the gameplay in a Metroidvania, then more power to you; you might like this game after all.


All in all, it’s your standard game with collectibles, difficult maneuvering, and some above average boss battles. It didn’t hype me into wanting to play extensively, but I can see where this will appeal to certain groups of players. For ten bucks on the eShop, this is a decent game to try out if you have some gift cards laying around and don’t know what to blow it on. Don’t expect greatness, but if you can settle with it being an indie title, you’ll have a good time.

Review: The Coma Recut on Nintendo Switch

See the source image You know - Back when we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do, we had this little thing on YouTube called 'Reviews Done Quick' - At its best it was a 60-90 second take on a video game aimed at helping people know what they needed to know without wasting their time. At its worst - It was selfish excuse to not write 18 paragraphs describing our reactions and impressions to a video game :)

The jokes on us, it took way longer to edit those videos than writing 18 paragraphs lol. But due to my lack of time this holiday season, I thought you know what really need the "RDQ" treatment? Our ACTUAL written reviews. So with that intro, please let me provide to you my "Review Done Quick" attempt using one of my favorite indie releases on Nintendo Switch - The Coma Recut.

What Do You Need To Know?

The Coma Recut is a horror-adventure game that has just arrived on Switch but has been available on Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms since September. ACTUALLY the game actually released back in 2015 on Mac/Windows as The Coma: Cutting Class but has been updated quite a bit to make up today's console version.

In a lot of ways its not very different from an Oxenfree in design - You explore environments in a 2D space that visually, is wonderfully created  in the style of a comic strip. The game looks great, both in portable and on the dock on that Nintendo Switch of yours.

While you'll see the word 'survival' if you look this game up, I can't back up that claim. Resources are plentiful as is money AND the enemies are easy enough to run away from / avoid. That said - The enemies do their job of adding to the tension, blocking areas you shouldn't be in, etc.

There's quite a bit of back tracking to find new clues, items, people / dialog that when found in the right pattern will open up new corridors or access to other areas to advance your story. That's pretty much the gameplay - Very much like a TellTale game, walk around, click on the objects read and react. The dialogue and stories you find though more than make up for the effort and it's ultimately a sit down once or twice and beat game, so if you're weekends free, there's a lot to find here.

My only real con is that the game didn't do as much as I would have liked developing the secondary characters. This narrative, especially with it's great writing, could have done so much to invest more in the narrative but I do suppose the original design was to be a shorter-ish game so it's understandable - I JUST WANTED MORE MEATY DIAGLOG!

Bottom Line - What I really want to say is if you were ever a fan of Clock Tower on PS2 or even Resident Evil Nemesis, I think you would enjoy playing The Coma Recut on Switch, PC, PS4 or XB1. The tension of being hunted while uncovering this mysterious high school is compelling and the slight Persona vibes in style and setting are a treat. I do think the Switch price of entry ($20) might be a bit on the high side given that the game is available for cheaper elsewhere and the the overall amount of game is easily less than 7-8 hours (many have done the campaign in less than 5).

Codemasters game reviews: F1 2017 and DiRT 4 (PS4)

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I’m not breaking any ground by saying that 2017 has been an awesome year in gaming across the board. Whether you like shooters, “adventure” games, third-person action games, platformers, retro games, sports games or VR game, you are in luck with 2017. That brings me to racing games.

While racing or games have been around since basically the beginning of video games — 1974’s Gran Track 10 from Atari — my own experience with them has been far more limited. I’ve played my share of arcade “kart” racers, some of the futuristic racing games, and loved Mario Andretti Racing on Sega Genesis, but I’ve largely avoided the genre. I’m not a “car guy” and haven’t really followed the sport until now.

My desire for a good, proper racing game started to build after seeing the fun Xbox owners had with Forza Horizon 3 last year. As a PS4 owner, I’ve had my eye on Gran Turismo Sport since then. It’s the first racing game I jumped on this year, and while I really enjoy the driving and think the online is pristine, the overall game is missing a career mode focus I was yearning for (at least until the upcoming free DLC is added this month).

This leads me to Codemasters and their masterpieces in F1 2017 and DiRT 4 that released earlier this year. They have been a revelation both in my personal gaming habits and in my sport fandom.

F1 2017

The F1 cars handle like a dream. The act of driving them, even with just my DualShock 4, is plainly a lot of fun. The game features each of the 2017 Formula 1 cars, drivers and tracks, with an additional 12 classic cars from 1988 through 2010 for you to race with.

While the game has a variety of modes — time trials, single Grands Prix and Championship Mode — the meat of the game is in its career mode. This is where I fell in love with the game and the sport as a whole.

As a basic noob to the series, I appreciate the breadth of difficulty and length options available. The game has a sliding scale of 0-110 for computer driving difficulty, on top of a variety of driving assists that include traction control, a visible driving line, brake assist and more. This has been invaluable to me as I familiarize myself with the game. You can also race as few as 3 laps, or up to 100 percent of the actual Grand Prix’s lap time. Within the career, you can also decide how many practice sessions to include, and what kind of qualifying to include.

For my part, I started racing at just a 25 difficulty and 25% race length. That length is the shortest race that allows for pit stops, which is integral to the strategy of an actual Formula 1 race. I’m doing the full practice and qualifying weekend, as well, which gives me a chance to really get to know the track and try to improve my time.

The career mode is packed with strategy and an RPG-like progression system. For my part, I’ve signed on with the Haas racing team. As one of the lower end cars, the Haas has a lot of room to improve. Throughout the career, you decide how to develop your car and what areas to focus on. Haas has decent engine power, but a weak chassis and low downforce, so I’m focusing on those areas. From week to week, you also need to swap out engine parts and your gearbox, though you have a limited number of parts you can use before incurring a penalty.

During a race, your tire choice and pit stop timing plays a huge role in where you finish the race. Now heading into Mexico in my first career season, I’ve grown to really love all of the different moving parts in the game. I have increased the difficulty to 50, and seem to be getting results pretty much on-par with the real-life Haas drivers this season, which slightly more success — after all, fun is more important than strict realism. I love the way the game handles this sliding difficulty.

F1 2017 has my favorite single-player career mode in any sports game, ever. I’ve won two separate Grands Prix now, and am looking forward to, in a future season, becoming the first American F1 champion since Mario Andretti in 1978.

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DiRT 4

The first thing that hit me when I finally clicked on DiRT 4 is the killer soundtrack. The music is just bumping and puts me in the mood to drive fast cars through the countryside.

A recurring theme, I’ve never before played a Rally racing game, or watched Rally Racing of any kind. I bought in solely because I loved F1 and this one went on sale recently.

Driving a Rally race is a thrilling experience, and possibly even moreso than driving an F1 car at 200 miles per hour. The handling of the rally cars feels great, and the career mode is appropriately in-depth. I love buying my cars, tuning them and getting used to them as I go.

Aside from Rally mode, there are also Land Rush events, Rallycross and Historic Rally. The Land Rush and Rallycross events are much more traditional racing events, as you run in heats of 4, 6 or 8 cars to make it to the final championship event. The races are jam-packed, high speed and just plain fun.

The other big part of the game is the ability to “create” your own rally courses, run them and share them online. While the scenery doesn’t change a ton, this provides a ton of replayability to the game.

However, the further I get into DiRT 4, the more that procedural generation starts to gnaw at me. The scenery becomes a little too familiar — I feel like I’ve driven past the same log cabin dozens of times — and the roads just don’t feel like real roads. The cars are still a blast to drive, and I like getting to know each separate make and model.

I just wonder if the game would be better served by having actual rally courses — like WRC 7 — combined with the procedural generation model.


Round 'Em Up! Slime Rancher [PC] Review

See the source image Indie developer Monomi Park first opened its doors in 2014. They released Slime Rancher as an early access game in January 2016, with an official release on Steam on August 1, 2017. While I never played during the Early Access days, what I did play was some adventurous, gooey fun. Monomi Park’s first and currently only game is an exploratory platformer where you’re dropped on an alien planet from far away to become a farmer. Not just any farmer, though. Oh, no. You experience the farmer life collecting Dragon Quest-esque slimes of different species! Your average day consists of catching and feeding them, all the while harvesting their plorts. What is a plort you may ask? Good ole expensive slime poop. Classy way to put it, Monomi.

You start off as Beatrix LeBeau, freshly dropped off on a farm on another planet, with a single corral to contain your slimes and a handy tool called the VacPack. Your VacPack, Luigi’s shopvac given rancher form, can hold up to 4 different items by vacuuming up resources and slimes on the planet. With nothing but a few scribbles of instruction on how to move and collect  the local slippery wildlife, you’re swiftly abandoned by higher forces and left to build the cosmo ranch of your dreams. You’re on your own, kid!

The main goal of this game is to make some sweet moola. In the game, you collect plorts to turn in for money at the Plort Market. The Plort Market has a convenient spot next to your home where you just shoot some of those slime toots in and make your money, honey! With the money you make, you can purchase upgrades for your corrals, buy more corrals, start a garden to feed your slimes sweet fruits and veggies, and even get upgrades for yourself. When you first start exploring, you will be able to find notes from the previous rancher, Hobson. Hobson will leave notes all over the planet, lovely little treasure troves of advice about the secrets of the planet. Hobson also tells you the wistful story of him exploring the planet and his personal reasons for why he left it all behind.

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Slime Rancher has a very happy-go-lucky art style, with everything bubbly and beautiful. There are day and night cycles, but luckily you’re not required to sleep every night. The option is available to go home and crawl in bed until morning, but exploring doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down, since there are some slimes that only come out at night.

As you make more money, you can unlock new pathways to areas with different types of slimes. There are 22 different slimes, though not all of them you can vacuum up. Some slimes will do damage to you, such as the pokey rock slimes, exploding boom slimes, and wild angry feral slimes. Each slime has a favorite food, and when fed their food of choice, produce double the plorts. CHA CHING!

The worst of all slimes, though, are the Tarr. Cue the lightning! You have the ability to combine slimes and make them all  big, squishy, and cute, allowing them to poop two different types of plorts. If you make a bad mix though, such as when when an already mixed slime eats a third type of plort, they turn into Tarr. The Tarr slimes will eat the other slimes and try to eat you! They will empty your corrals and wreak havoc, terrifying all of the other slimes into plorting themselves (not really, this isn’t a smart business plan). Luckily, Tarr slimes can be heard before seen. The music will change and the other slimes will cry out in despair when a Tarr appears. Tarrs have a weakness as well, though, and that’s good ole H2O. Eventually you can purchase a water tank upgrade to carry water with you as well as your items. Until you get the upgrade though, I find immense pleasure in vacuuming them to get stuck on the end of the VacPack and blasting those gooey demons to the ocean. SEA YA SUCKERS!

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This game is a little more than just making money through slime poop and blasting Tarrs out of existence, though. One hot example is the story of Hobson’s life on the ranch and the decisions he had to make, compared to the life you are living. As you progress through the game, you will receive mail from someone named Casey. Casey writes to you from Earth, is obviously a close friend and living the dream of rocking out with their music. As you progress in the game exploring new areas and collecting new slimes, Casey’s letters get much more in depth. Towards the end of the game, you get a final letter from Casey. This cues a cut scene and explains the relationship between Bea and Casey leading to what is technically the end of the game.


After hearing the lovely music and watching all the names roll by the developers that worked on this wondrous game, you get yet another letter. Hobson sends a message that the adventure isn’t over yet! There are hidden vaults with untold treasures! I have yet to find these vaults, so I am not sure what are in them. In his letter he just explains that he stashed a small fortune in each of these vaults. Hopefully enough money to achieve the dreams of a little slime farmer!

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I overall enjoyed playing Slime Rancher. It has a very sparkly, heartwarming feel to it that relaxes you as you play. I was a little frustrated with the repetitive trips back and forth because of constantly full inventories, but maybe that was just because I was too lazy to collect the resources to create shortcut portals. Also, such portals do not become possible until later in the game, so it’s fair game to complain about the time spent traveling to and from the ranches.

The game plays really smoothly nor have I had a single issue with crashing or losing progress. If my game data were for some reason to disappear though, I can’t say I would be mad because I would thoroughly enjoy playing all over again.