Hob (PS4) Review

See the source image Occasionally the art direction of a game is so striking, so inspired, and so beautiful one cannot help but be awed while playing. Hob, the newest adventure from Runic Games, embraces this notion and around every corner is a new canvas for the player to marvel. But does the rest of the game live up to the stunning art? Let’s dive in.

Hob is an action-adventure game that will feel familiar from the onset. If you have played any game starring a pointy-eared, floppy green cap protagonist, you will be able to grasp the fundamental aspects of navigation and combat. While it may be easy to dismiss much of what Hob does as wrote at first glance, there are a few interesting tweaks to the gameplay that become apparent the longer you play the game. For instance, the platforming/adventuring seems more inspired by games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider than it does Zelda. Daring jumps over deep crevices to platforms that seem just a bit too far away only to grab on and dangle at the last possible moment are the norm. Add in a grapple mechanic, the tell-tale reach out with a hand while climbing to direct players, and the occasional misdirected jump leading to instant death, and you have a game that nicely bridges that gap between the exploring of yore and what more modern games have brought to the table.

Combat is a smooth blend of sword swinging, robot arm punching, shield blocking, and dive rolling goodness. Enemies seem to either pose a significant threat (i.e., one or two hits and you will be respawning) or are a minor annoyance where a bit of button mashing will do them in. Occasionally you need to take enemy armor into account, but having a more robust middle-tier of enemies would have felt more balanced. Thankfully, even when upgrading your sword and abilities, the challenging enemies will still punish you if you are lackadaisical in your approach, so the game maintains some difficulty throughout the journey.

All of this exploring and combat is in the name of, I think, vanquishing a plague that is overtaking the world. I appreciate Hob going for the wordless narrative, but I am not sure I always fully grasped what was going on. I pretty much grasped what I needed to do, and I think I know why I needed to do it, and I think I understood what the end meant, but I am not entirely confident. The beauty of art, some would say, is what it means to the observer is what matters. While the creators have an intent and a story they are trying to tell, they cannot tell someone how to experience the work or what to feel as a result of the experience. From that perspective, I appreciate the story. However, the practical side of me just wants to know if I understood it all correctly.

The real star of Hob though is the world. Stunning art direction, a minimalist but beautiful soundtrack, and a map the opens up in dramatic ways caused me to want to explore every nook and cranny. The most significant achievement of this game is how seamlessly everything pieces together and how exhilarating it is to unlock new portions of the map. Massive chunks of land either rise from far below or come crashing down in a beautiful terraforming dance. I am still amazed at how wonderfully the map weaves together and how unlocking new portions felt uniquely rewarding. The game gently guides you on where to go, and once you arrived, the puzzles intuitively presented themselves. There are bushels of secret areas to discover, often hidden right under the player's nose, that made me feel brilliant for finding them. This is a world I wanted to spend time in. Even after completing the game, I immediately jumped back in to see what new secrets I could uncover.

There is a joy to be found just being present in the world of Hob. Unfortunately, there is a flip side as well. The game crashed three times on my adventure, causing me to have to restart from the PS4 home screen. Thankfully, a forgiving auto-save and respawn system meant I never lost more than a minute or two of progress. Additionally, the framerate would chug if I was running across expansive parts of the map, more so if there were numerous enemies on screen. Finally, on a few occasions, I would fall or otherwise find myself stuck between objects in the game. While these technical issues pulled me a bit out of the game experience, my disappointment would wash away because of a desire to hop back in and experience more of the world.

Hob reminds me why new IPs and independent developers are crucial to gaming. The wordless narrative might be a challenge for some, and technical issues hold it back from its full potential. However, in the end, Runic Games has put together an extraordinary adventure in a stunning world that is easy to recommend.


PSVG SNES Classic Callback Review: Link to the Past

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Does it hold water? No. It never has.

It can hold red potions and fairies though.

Please, shoot me now, I waited twenty-six years to make that joke and I can die peacefully.

So you have your shiny, new plastic smelling, SNES Classic. Wonderful, great for you! Maybe you are dusting off your old SNES, GBA, Wii, 3DS, and what seems like a billion different other platforms and you’re now raring to give it the ol’ 1-2 shot again. Nostalgia glasses are a fickle thing though, and thick as they can be, some games lost their glitter over the years and are best left to your childhood imagination. Take a look at Final Fantasy 7, for example. Loved it then? Great. Played it recently? Oh mercy, I hope not, there’s a reason why rabid fans have been holding their Advent Children DVDs hostage for the episodic re-release.

We’re talking about one of the most widely regarded video games in modern history, though. Say one foul word to the wrong person and you’ll end up dead in an internet alley. Heck, many won’t even need this article considering that they have etched into their soul that the legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is perfection in 16-bit form. Is it though? Does the SNES mega-hit stay true to form to this very day? I played it once more for my yearly run, and I give you my honest thoughts below.

(Spoiler: It is. Huh.)

So let’s start off with the story. The Legend of Zelda series didn’t have much of deep lore at the time despite having four titles under the belt and including a cult hit tv show everyone snickers at. We see some moderately decent chunks in Ocarina of Time later on, but beyond a few character interactions in Kakariko village, Link to the Past just doesn’t hold up. More spoilers, your uncle decides to go all gung-ho for all of three minutes before bleeding out, teaching you the “sacred art of the family aka how to spin in a circle”, you rescue Zelda, earn about six sentences as to why you want the Master Sword, and you’re on your way. You beat big baddie Agahnim who somehow is controlling/killed/forcing/disappeared the king that we only see the idle intro of the game, and now you get another six sentences as to why you should tackle over a half dozen dungeons. Peppered with shanty singing by the rescued maidens about knights and sages of old and why Ganon is a naughty thief, and there goes the entire plot of Link to the Past.

Am I being fair to the story design? Not at all, considering Super Mario World received a signpost for the first level and Donkey Kong Country earned a tragic start of similar design. Should I be fair? Probably not, considering I’m a prejudiced Zelda fan who has this very game’s Link inked onto my arm. It’s a necessity to understand, though, that this game is severely lacking in a structured storyline that requires a more direct interaction with main characters beyond telepathic blocks on the wall, giving you pro tips on how to solve kindergarten puzzles.

You can step to the side and respect that they do dice in a chat here and there if you go out of the way to talk with the common folk of the game, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t know why these knights are even attacking me. Are they being controlled? Are they demons in knight’s armor? There’s no preset beyond the off chance encounter mentioning that there’s some bounty on Link’s head and apparently no one wised up to the ominous wizard whisking away virgins into the Dark World. Ah well, it’s a Nintendo thing, which is the trademark saying of a fanboy, isn't it?

The music. Oh man, that music. The sweet, succulent tones of the original theme taken up a notch thanks to the Super Nintendo’s sound chip gives a wallop for the age of the console. I can happily admit that I could hum or crudely sing almost every song you hear in this game without fail. Fanaticism aside, the scores for this game are, without a doubt, a huge upgrade to its predecessor and by itself a phenomenal soundtrack. Couple it with the fact that Koji Kondo, one of Nintendo’s ol’ top dogs of music composers, was in charge of the task, and you have yourself one hell of a song collection. There’s a couple duds I’m not too fond of, such as the treasure mini-game theme, but they're quickly drowned out by the Overworld theme and Dark Woods overture.

The combat is as good as you remembered it, don’t worry. A bit clunky at times in terms of hitboxes and wall collision (I’m looking at you, invincible keese that nearly killed me), but the different methods of taking down the local guardsmen is still hilarious. Swordplay away? Check. Want to charge them with the pegasus boots? Got it. Boomerang to the face? It’s stunning. What I would have called old tricks on any other game is fresh breathing for this title. Having over a dozen different ways get those hot rupees leave a simplified, but satisfying feeling when you’re burning through the game.

Who needs the sword of Evil’s Bane to take on a monster wizard when you can use a freaking bug net?

Importantly so, the puzzles are the crux of every Zelda design; you’d no sooner find water without hitting a riddle to try at (unless you’re playing Wind Waker, but that’s for good reason). In A Link to the Past, the game takes the mysteries to another level, plotting quality enigmas behind the different tools, or simple tests of will, luck, or logic; heck, maybe even across worlds.

Compared to the Zelda games before it, The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda II, the multi-layer mechanic allowed developers to make a grandiose variety of puzzles, where doing obscure things to slightly suspicious objects often end in some sort of reward. What was once bombing the right part of a wall is now doing a digging contest, or hammering down the two dozen stakes that are just sitting there without any indication, or dumping the water from an underground river dam. Even compared to other SNES titles it holds up favorably well, offering dozens of puzzles for both heart pieces, and other sweet goodies like the ice rod or the medallions.

If this means anything in term of my poor memory, I want to first say that I enjoy A Link to the Past over Ocarina of Time. However, I can name you every boss and describe the method of encounter from the Nintendo 64 title; I can barely tell you a third of them from A Link to the Past, and I just played it. Now mind you, they don’t do the fancy titles or the dramatic introductions, but it’s really the designs of some of them that make them forgettable. A group of six Armos Knights? A bunch of eyeballs? An angry jellyfish?

Devil in the details though, because the fights I do clearly remember, and don’t even, get exceptionally difficult and demanding. I spent almost forty minutes, without getting a game over, against the boss in Hera’s Tower, Moldorm. For those who don’t know or remember, Moldorm was a being of chaotic energy and an RNG entity in worm form, where you must strike the tail multiple times while avoiding the wildly flailing head from knocking you below, restarting the match. Sometimes I can do it in two minutes, this time I took forty. It was embarrassing. Another fight you go against, Mothula, the boss of Skull Woods. Have you ever tried to torch a moth while it shoots hypoblasts at you, the floor split into fifty pieces and moving you in turbulent directions towards a wall of spikes? Old Blind from Gargoyle’s Domain, also known as Bullet Hell Blind, thanks to fireballs going in every direction you can think of, made me run for my life.

The hottest question is, did I still enjoy this twenty-six-year-old game? If I said yes right off the get-go, this wouldn’t even be an article; it’d be a joke of a clickbait at worst and a tweet at best.

The truth is, this game is overrated. It really is. For all the legacy and revelations of praise this game has been given over the decades, people have put it on a pedestal far too high, making it disappointing for those who wanted to give it a shot after being told: “this is the best game of all time”. Maybe in 1991, when I was eight months old, this game was glorious to those who never saw such graphics and detail; but now, with games hitting 4K and being retroactively 16bit, the shine is dimmed. It’s not the best game in the world anymore, maybe not even then.


Is it still my favorite game of all time after playing it, twenty-six years old and all?


I don’t care what the “best” game is. The Last of Us, Halo, Destiny 2, they can keep the title. In a couple years some new game will snag the position and they’ll be left in the annals of history. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, however, holds the greatest of endearments and appreciation, for both what it offers for you as the gamer, and for what it gave inspiration to as a game designer. Zelda, in general, has given birth to several forms of gameplay mechanics used by many to this day, and Link to the Past is no exception. Without this SNES title, we wouldn’t see the integrated heart piece system through challenges or exploration, or thematically dynamic dungeon exploring. It’s very likely that other titles may have been the first, but this is the one that made it into a popular meta in the 90s and beyond.

The idea behind a legendary sword meant to face the forces of evil was also popularized here. Again, not the first, but the most prominent. The successors to the idea came soon after. I can even name you some: Crystalis, LandStalker,  Alcahest, Crusader of Centy. All names with a centralized sword in mind to take out the big baddy.

So, there you have it, another one of those articles that glorify their review of A Link to the Past. Let it be distinguished, however, that I recognize its flaws and bugs, and that it is certainly not perfect. What it offers beyond that, is perfect enough for me.

Also, I was told specifically not to discuss the gender of the male Gerudo thief king of the desert, Ganondorf, whose Gerudo legend states that a male is born every hundred years and is destined king, so I won’t talk about his gender.

Ganon's totes whatever you want 'em to be for your fanfic, though.

Thimbleweed Park Review (Nintendo Switch)

Thimbleweed Park is a fantastically odd nod to retro adventure games of old, and I loved EVERY SECOND of my strange journey. But before I get into it, lets go over the basic info you should know: Thimbleweed Park is a point and click adventure game developed by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, the game was revealed back in 2014 along with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $375,000, and was released in March 2017.

The game is a spiritual successor to Gilbert and Winnick’s previous games Maniac Mansion (1987) and The Secret of Monkey Island (1990) and is designed to be similar to graphic adventure games in that time period, both visually and gameplay-wise.

The story (No Spoilers) is as follows: FBI Agents Ray and Reyes arrive at the town of Thimbleweed Park to investigate a murder. Their investigation leads them to several persons of interest: Chuck, the recently deceased owner of the PillowTronics robotics company; Ransome the Clown, cursed to wear his makeup forever after going too far in his insulting performances; Delores, computer programmer and niece of Chuck; and Delores's downtrodden father Franklin.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I was ecstatic to play this game for review for the site. I was a big fan of both Maniac Mansion and Secret of Monkey Island back in the day. The way these games made you have to think is far from heard from nowadays so I applaud the developers for keeping that theme in tact. If you don’t want to think then this game is NOT for you, this game doesn’t pull any punches and does not hold your hand through the process. There is a tip line available to help you for use through a cell phone one of the playable characters have. Then for the hardcore players like myself, there is a collectible item in specks of dust, that is yep you guessed it a single grey pixel hidden in various places throughout the game (I  found 75 of them though) that even if you collect them all you get nothing more than achievements (which Nintendo Switch doesn’t have anyway LOL).

The characters in this game, I was surprised to discover were all fully voice-acted, not something I was suspecting but definitely helps give the town more life and lends well to the quirky-ness of many of the residents. The town of Thimbleweed Park is very realized in the game and is very “Alive” despite most of the stores being closed and boarded up. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil anything for this game for those interested and familiar with these types of games is does not disappoint.

The graphics are spot on for what they wanted to accomplish with this game, retro to an exact science (but without being ugly or difficult to play). The music is atmospheric and fits well without feeling repetitive or bland, which is tough to do with a narrative style game play. Controls work perfectly and I didn't have a single technical issue throughout the entire game, which lets be honest nowadays is not a very easy thing to come across.

As I mentioned before the story is what MAKES this game, it's engaging, hilarious, and is constantly challenging you as the player. Now this style of game isn't for everyone sure, but if you played the old lucas arts games or Maniac Mansion this is a MUST PLAY. If you didn't grow up with those games but enjoyed experiences like What Remains of Edith Finch, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and other story driven games, and want to be challenged more with them, then I recommend giving this a shot. Now, I'm known to be the guy on staff who likes the quirky games, and I know I'm going to get some flack for this next statement but for me it rings true.

"As of today in October my candidates for Game of The Year Contenders are Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, and Thimbleweed Park" - Kevin Austin (Playsomevideogames.com)

Hellblade Review: Where Only In Helheim She Found Acceptance

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"] Hellblade is a tricky bag of thoughts and impressions. In today's environment, mental health to many is a field of landmines, having scarcely been touched in the video game industry. There have been a few landmark titles, but Hellblade really raises the bar... or should I say down since our main Celtic heroine, Senua, needs to trek the decrepit waters of the Northmen to make her perilous passage into Helheim, the Norse equivalent of the underworld.

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At the beginning of the game, we take control of Senua as she drifts down what can only be described as the most intimidating river since the battle against The Sorrow in Metal Gear Solid 3. Corpses lie on stakes, rotting bodies lay hung from above, and all the meanwhile, over half a dozen voices are telling Senua to turn back, there’s no hope. Having been a victim of abuse, isolation, and mental illness all her life, her only cling to sanity was her long deceased mother, and her true love Dillion, who was sacrificed by the Norse and whose soul rests for eternal damnation in Helheim. Having lost everything to what she describes as her darkness, she spits at her cursed nature and refuses to accept the circumstances of her life, taking sword in hand and going to the bowels of the underworld and bringing back her lost love.

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Armed only with a single blade, stories from a man who managed to escape Helheim, Druth, and the multitudes of her own voices trying to both guide and hinder her, Senua enters the deathly realm of psychological horror and action-adventure where puzzles are aplenty, and battles come few. Although the majority of this game is a walking simulator, there are welcomed moments of vicious combat that involve perfect timing of dodges and parries against otherworldly and demonic creatures that serve Helya, the ruler of Helheim.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Screenshot_08.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.71"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"] The battle system is, to an extent, very simple. Everything you learn in your first fight is essentially all you get to the very bitter end. You gain an ability to slow time against the darkness to gain a temporary edge, but the fights usually are to keep everyone in sight and parry the heck out of whoever is closest. Being from the same line of titles like Heavenly Sword, Ninja Theory takes a page out of Nariko’s sword swinging and gives a melee, a light swing, and a heavy assault as your only options of battle, with a few combos strewn between them. It does feel repetitive to do the same motions over time, but they counteract it with newer enemies with different fight styles, forcing you to adapt to fresher and more demanding motions. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"] The puzzles, at least in the very beginning, are very slow, with the occasional burst of frantic running and solving. One moment you’re passing through a desolate looking forest, and the next you need to retrace your steps while engulfed in a blazing inferno, sprinting on instinct alone as you try to narrowly escape death. Speaking of death, they try to tease a horrifying element in the very beginning of the game; cursed with rot on her right hand, should Senua die, the rot will slowly grow up her arm, and eventually her head. Should she die too much throughout the game, the rot will permanently kill her and you will lose your save file. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/rsz_hand_rot.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.71"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/spoiler-alert-27401759.png" align="center" _builder_version="3.0.71"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"]

Do not let this affect your decision to play; I’m spoiling you now. Spoilers ahoy!

This is a bluff.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"] I don’t know why they thought that this was a good idea to incorporate if they weren’t going to stick with it. Technically speaking, when you do “beat” the game, your save file is, in fact, deleted. Your story is over, is it not? It will not trigger prematurely as it would suggest, though, thanks to experts testing out the theory very extensively. I didn’t know this and all it did was make me angry for any time I died, my fault or no. If I can save you the frustration and stress of what is otherwise a great game, let me do that here for you now. Just ignore it. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/hellblade-darkness.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.71"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"]

Back to puzzles - It’s not like Tetris rocks on a wall or anything like that. The world serves to trick and frighten you, deter you with each step you take, but Senua must push on and see the truth. There were moments where they scared me so much that I almost quit playing entirely. I am easily frightened, but having played Dead Space, Resident Evil, Until Dawn, Alien: Isolation, Outlast; I know the feeling of fear and how to isolate myself from the object to feel in control. I could not do that here.

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There was a time where I was forced to traverse in near absolute darkness and nothing to follow but a glimmer of light and Dillion’s lost voice. There were also horrific blurs of monsters who I couldn’t fight sauntering in the shadows, grinding and screeching as I tried to sneak within grasping distances of them. All I could do to keep my wits is trust that the game would not hurt me, like accepting a roller coaster would not go off its tracks, and I pushed on. Add the fact that I had headphones on (which is a necessity, not a recommendation; absolutely, POSITIVELY put headphones in for the entirety of this game), I admitted later that I nearly peed myself in pure fear and adrenaline.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/MF0Y2tk.gif" _builder_version="3.0.71"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71"] It was about seven, maybe eight hours of this. For the initial price of thirty buckaroos on PSN and on Steam, I was ecstatic that something this great came at such a cheap price. I almost felt dirty for paying so little; I would have paid at least fifty for it brand new if I had known what I was in for.  The game delivers an absolutely phenomenal chapter of love, struggle, and internal conflict, and I could not recommend it more. Do not let this game pass you by while you’re waiting for the heavy hitters to show up this fall and winter. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_image src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/hellbladenewtrailer_610.jpg" align="center" _builder_version="3.0.71"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Review: Chicken Wiggle (3DS)

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Intro" _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"] Are you in the mood for a fun, colourful, and progressively difficult platformer for your 3DS? Please look no further than 'Chicken Wiggle' on your 3DS eShop. Atooi has crafted a delightful challenge for you that is more than just your basic game. Let's take a look inside.

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'Chicken Wiggle' has a simple and yet heartwarming story at its core. An evil witch has plundered the surrounding areas and "chicknapped" the friends of our heroes. Bonded together in a quest to save them, a flightless chicken and trusty worm saddle up for the challenge. It's a simple premise, and the narrative is merely a backdrop for some fun and addictive gameplay. If you grew up with the NES and other consoles during this industry's infancy, this will fit right in with your gaming memories.

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Gameplay, in my opinion, is the heart and soul of this game. As Chickenwiggle, you have three main abilities, jump, a work "hook shot", and a peck attack. You'll use these abilities along with a few select powerups to overcome the six stages found within the games eight towers.

The earlier levels do a great job introducing the mechanics of the game, while the later stages really tack on the difficulty requiring some timing and precision in order to advance. While the ultimate goal of each stage is to rescue your chicken friend from their tiny prison, there are also 100 orbs/chicklets/collectables to nab, as well as the letters F-U-N. Getting through a level can be easy enough, but to truly "100% it", you'll have to collect all of these along the way.

'Chicken Wiggle' also comes with a full level creator with all content unlocked from the very beginning. I'm not a huge designer myself so I merely toyed with the top level options, but anyone that dug deep into 'Mario Maker' will be able to get a lot out of this. Downloading user-created levels were a breeze, and I played some very interesting spin-offs of 'Pac-Man' and 'Super Mario' while I was exploring the options out there. Jools Watsham has created a great little tool for players to toy around with and enjoy.

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This is where 'Chicken Wiggle' really shines, the presentation. The pixel art is gorgeous and the score is fantastic. I found the various tracks to be quite catchy. While there may not be a plethora of enemies to face, they are all designed well and their individual art looks great. I definitely recommend playing with 3D turned on, as it creates a wonderful depth to the backgrounds that make the visuals pop. A simple touch, but the way a certain football helmet pops off the enemy and tumbles off the screen adds charm and visual flair. Each tower has its own specific theme from vinelike beanstalks to a candy/cake dreamland. Don't be deceived by the child-friendly nature of the visuals, as 'Chicken Wiggle' will get difficult!

Each tower has its own specific theme from vinelike beanstalks to a candy/cake dreamland. Don't be deceived by the child-friendly nature of the visuals, as 'Chicken Wiggle' will get difficult! Atooi definitely captures their moto within this game, "retro roots, modern mojo". I feel it within the design decisions and overall experience.

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'Chicken Wiggle' is a gem of an experience, and unfortunately, due to its platform of release, feel it will be overshadowed a bit by the Nintendo Switch. A large segment of this target audience loves indies, but have left their 3DS behind, myself included. Regardless, this game was a joy to play through and at a current sale price of $9.99 (sale ends 9/28), it is a game I urge you not to pass up. While the eight towers may not offer the longest gameplay, nabbing each collectable will give players something to accomplish and let's not pass off that editor. Download some levels and give your game design chops a test by making your own.

Thank you for supporting Nintendo, Atooi, and I can't wait to see what future games grace our game screens in the future!