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. Read More

Flipping Death: The PSVG Review

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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.

80/100

 

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

Read More

I really, really want to like Legendary Eleven, the latest arcade soccer game from Spanish developer Eclipse Games. As you’ll discover below, the game just misses the mark, thanks to reliability issues the crop up nearly every game.

In Legendary Eleven, you choose from one of 36 countries to take through the World Cup, or one of a handful of smaller regional tournaments. The only modes in the game are the tournament mode or exhibition.

The game has a distinct look, with players looking like they would fit in with the 1970s, with their short shorts. The game also looks like it might fit in well on the PlayStation 2. There is little music in the game, and the only sounds during gameplay are occasion PA announcements, some crowd reaction and soccer-playing noises.

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The core gameplay is fun and easy to pick up-and-play. There is a button to pass, a button to shoot, a button for a special dribble and a sprint button. There’s an additional ability for a “pass through,” but I found it to be largely ineffective. As you make passes, you build a special meter; once that meter is full, you merely need to get into a shooting position and hit the right button combination in order to hit a special kick. This kick is unblockable and always goes in.

At face value, Legendary Eleven is a fun and competent arcade soccer game. And, if you were playing with another human player, it can be super competitive. But the wheels fall off when playing against the computer.

I’ll start with that special kick that always goes in. It’s great in-theory, but can get quite infuriating when the AI team gets multiple super kicks in a row. I also found the inputs required for the special kick to only work part of the time. For every kick that I pulled off flawlessly, I’d make two kicks with the same button press, only to see the ball soar over the net.

Once I got the hang of score goals without the special move, I became nearly unstoppable, scoring 6 and 7 goals per game. There is no adjustable difficulty.

Another complicating factor here, is that the AI players will occasionally just stop responding to you. I tested this in multiple games, where I would just stand still on my half of the pitch, and as long as I didn’t move, the other team never approached me. In two separate games, I stood still from the 20-minute mark, through to the end of the half at 45 minutes. (I’m not sure how long the halves actually are, but games do go pretty quickly.)

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Prior to starting the game, the developer informed me of a bug that crops up when players perform a lot of tackles in the game. After a number of tackles, the player-controlled team loses control, and the ball will listlessly roll away for the remainder of the half. The developer said they are working on a fix for this bug. Despite this warning, I figured things would be fine in the end. Yet, I have had many games with this bug popping up. Typically, the only way to get the ball away from the computer team is to tackle, which means that I frequently came up against games that essentially ended with this glitch.

One final glitch that popped up occasionally for me is when the opposing goalkeeper will sometimes kick the ball straight into the stands. I’m not sure why this happens.

Legendary Eleven has a few good things going for it. At its best, it could evoke my dorm-room couch gaming sessions of FIFA 06 that I look back on fondly. With the current build, however, it doesn’t reach its best very often. If the above-mentioned glitches get patched out, and if the AI will attack on defense a bit more, then it can be a perfectly serviceable arcade futbol game. Until then? Grab Soccer Slammers or stick with FIFA 18 for your footie fix.

Rating: 50/100

Legendary Eleven was reviewed using a code provided by the developer. 

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.

Review: The Long Reach

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The Long Reach Review Discussion from last week’s Nintendo Shack Podcast.

 

Subsurface Circular [Switch] Review

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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.

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Bayonetta [Switch] Review

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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.

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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.

Batman: The Telltale Series [Switch] Review

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Welcome back to the gaming world, people of 2018! Flushed with eShop money and no idea what to spend it on, I decide to make the jump into Telltale Games’ work, having never seen or played one before. With their slow introductory on the Switch, I perused all of the two titles I could find; Minecraft and Batman. Having told myself I was a fan of Batman for many years (often disheartedly as I leave movie theatres), I decide to let this be the very first TTG game. I didn’t know what to expect given that the only thing I knew was “there was going to be some tough choices to make”. Little did I know that choices and split decisions were the cruces of the game, and with it being dished on Bruce Wayne’s plate, left me begging for season two.

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For those who are in the same boat as me, the season one that I played introduces many of the iconic Batman character (sans Robin) you can imagine, often with a new spin or re-imagining of the character. The Danny Devito-esque villain, the Penguin, has been etched in my mind thanks to Tim Burton, yet what I got instead was surprising and left me in loops of trying to reestablish what I remember characters as. Harvey Dent, who many will know as the eventual Two-Face, makes a strong left turn on how he’s handled in both his relationship with Bruce Wayne and with the world. I suppose writing a whole paragraph on why I was shocked to re-organize my thoughts on the Batman world as told by Telltale is a bit silly, but it’s a blessed forewarning; don’t expect the same old story.

Though yes, the pearls do break and hit the floor at some point in this game.

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The controls of the game vary from scene to scene, though what you can do is tied thematically to the situation of the scene. Combat scenes clear you of moving but instead preps you to be ready for a fast-paced button prompt to dodge a punch or send a knee into a face. Conversations focus almost entirely on dialog choices, running down a ladder of decisions that will affect people’s friendship with you or how people begin to look at Batman. Investigations leave you to rummage the area and investigate clue pieces, occasionally linking evidence area to form a bigger picture of the nightmares that unfolded there. By design, it felt like every choice I made had an impact on the game, even if there are times it didn’t matter and it was smoke and mirrors.

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Spread across five episodes, each part usually introduces a new titular character or plot point, giving a fresh slap of paint to a building art piece. In addition, there’s usually a game-changing decision to make that decides the fate of the chapter’s end. I had to decide between taking on two separate villains in different parts of town, both of which were trying to ruin you at the same time. Stop one saves me in some fashion, while the other devastates your future. It was almost traumatizing to pick because I knew I was screwed either way and I had to calculate which was least damaging. I had to pick between saving two people very important to me. I regret my pick, but I know I would regret it if I picked the other person, too

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There are some hardships that come with this game, with one, in particular, that would dissuade me personally from buying the game for the Switch in the first place. Namely, I was stricken with memory save issues that were so bad that if I chose to leave after a checkpoint anywhere in an episode, even if the icon clearly showed it saved the game for me, I would have to start the entire chapter over. We’re talking up to an hour and a half of lost game time, folks. Even after beating the episode it would save my choices but then claim that I never played the episode and prompt me to do so. Essentially I was forced to play in 1.5-hour chunks or risk losing a ton of progress and choices I made. That aside, there are a lot of jenky scene transitions of models and foliage loading in a bit too late to escape my eagle eyes, leaving me annoyed that they miscalculated the load time that the Switch takes compared to the console or PC counterparts.

The music was decent and the voice acting,  and although occasionally corny (I’m looking at you, Selina Kyles), Telltale did an amazing job with the voice acting on everything. I can only imagine how much work is put into the voice work, considering the one playthrough I only reflected one of the four choices of dialogue that was presented to me, making me curious to retry and play the scenario differently. With credits in tow for the last time, however, I’m ready to let this game sit for a bit until I give it another go.

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Review: The Coma Recut on Nintendo Switch

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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).

Podcast Review: Earth Atlantis (Nintendo Switch)

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I finally sat down and got my thoughts out on “Earth Atlantis” for the Nintendo Switch. Will this side-scrolling shooter sink or swim? Listen to my full review here to find out! It’s been long overdue…

 

Tylers Untimely Turmoil: Is Breath of the Wild Guaranteed GOTY? [Part #1 Notes]

Oh, this is a mature self-discussion. Shield your children’s eyes.

These are personal thoughts as I replay BOTW to remember either why this is the best game, or if it was a great game that was driven up by circumstance and hype. I’m just gonna jumble them down as I go so there’s no linear reason to them beyond the progress I make. Part one will consist of Title Screen to Kakariko Village.

Opening thoughts: I have Zelda: BOTW and Horizon: Zero Dawn on equal grounds as the best games I have played this year. I don’t have a problem with this, but the social and corporate construct of today’s gaming media demands there be one better for the other. Unless Don Reece decides that this is no longer the case with PSVG, I will persevere to employ the devil’s advocate to the likely landslide victory Breath of the Wild will deliver. It is clear BOTW is at an advantage thanks to the fresh release of the Nintendo Switch console, as well as the forced strain of Zelda hype that Nintendo drew out longer than average.

In comparison, each Zelda game cycle takes about five years, whereas BOTW was delayed numerous times before being spontaneously hyped for almost five months. At the expense of turning the Wii U into an abandoned platform and the 3DS into a stepchild, this game was to be the crowning herald of a new style of gaming, to great success at this track of rate. Horizon: Zero Dawn, on the other hand, was contemplated murmurs about whether or not Guerrilla Games, usually making shooting titles, could possibly make an open world platform of the magnitude of what they were suggesting, and it wasn’t until release that the game was realized of its potency, three days before BOTW came out.

It is unfortunate that the two have to be compared due to general similarities; being one myself, rabid Nintendo fanboys have done the usual pinpointing of minor details of Horizon to say it is a lackluster game, while doing the same to praise why Zelda is the ‘supreme’ game (a popular term on the forums of this discussion). This has led to a rift between those who enjoy one or the other and has trickled down into some media. Having become impartial by loving most games, I tasked myself as to whether or not Zelda is great as people convinced me it was. Now that the talks and shouts have lowered, I am replaying BOTW for the third time to see if it’s as I remember it to be.

Thankfully, there’s nearly squat for spoilers beyond boss fight mechanics so I don’t have to worry about that.

Starting the game now.

Turned subtitles to Japanese because I am used to subbed anime and the English voice actors, with the exception of Zelda and Ravali, are lackluster and apathetic. I’m glad they never gave Ganon a VA; he probably would have sounded like Kurt Russell on both whiskey and cocaine.

Intro title is simple and impactful, amazing how the absence of productivity can still get the same results if done right.

Controller response to bass input of sound effects is freaking great.

They really do (although subtly) sexualize Link; however, I won’t complain, winky face.

Forgot how huge this map was… crap, why did I delete my save file? Now I have to visit everything again.

The SFX of getting an object is already getting old. It’s like hearing a gong for winning at bingo.

The anti-aliasing is terribad, more than I remember. Beats the heck out of Skyward Sword but-  *gets interrupted by game* why the **** is Zelda yelling at me for AFKing and telling me where to go?

Anyways, the grass textures have improved from a freaking WII GAME, but they’re just not that great. I’m guessing that if they made it any better detail though, the game would chug and drop frame rates even more, and we’d get a good glimpse at just how great the console performs. Oh well, the Wii U converted to PC emulation of the grass looks top notch! Shame that’s not the Switch though.

I forgot that I was paranoid that the old man was Ganondorf in disguise. Had the same feeling again, doh.

Just noticed Nintendo gave me a pity boulder to kill some bokoblins. Thanks, Nintendo.

Sneaking is scary as crap in this game. You never know the exact millimeter the thumbstick should go and it seems each enemy is differently suspicious of your existence. Sneakstrike is cool, but not exceptional. I’m used to whistling and luring monsters into bushes and breaking fool’s necks from behind.

I do appreciate that they tell you from the get-go that Calamity Ganon is a thing. I hate the last minute “but it is I, the final boss, Ganon!”

I’ll never understand why Link cannot sprint for more than fifteen seconds without dying. I understand how muscular dystrophy works but this is ridiculous.

They don’t really baby step you when it comes to shrines. I respect it. Magnesis was always a pain for me.

**** these korok seeds.

The blue bokoblin messed me up. Welp. Forgot how hard this was.

Blue bombs are awesome to have, both as a tool and weapon.

You know, I must have always done these shrines out of order. I usually do the snowy mountain one third and then backtrack to what I presume is meant to be the actual third. Oh well, hashtag go any way you want.

Snow area is the best area here on the Great Plateau. The cold mechanic is a bit lame but understandable. Freezing water is spooky as hell, don’t ever let me go, Rose!

These old geezers at the end of shrines seem out of place. Statues would make more sense.

The fact that Link can jump is still weird. Him being able to fly is probably the best mechanic in the game.

Wrapping up the Great Plateau, the story seems much more depressing than what I remember it to be, although the driving theme is definitely curiosity and wonder. I wonder if making me walk for five minutes to do something curious is enough to drive my patience. I did all of this already, so the thought of doing all 120 shrines is disheartening from the get-go.

Since I sold my soul for an expansion pass, I immediately went for Majora’s Mask since it was all of three minutes away from the Great Plateau. It serves as a pseudo easy mode since most enemies hesitate to attack you, and while I usually crave a challenge, enemies driving me to circle their camps was annoying and I like the idea of a lizalfos tasting me to see if I’m an enemy or not.

The shrines are a lot easier than I remember them. I suppose a lot of this game is meant to be a one trick pony, but once you figure the secret, everything goes to crap. Kind of disappointing how quick the magic is gone once you get a taste for the puzzles, but there are chunks of moments where I feel surprised, like a pleasant breeze in Chicago.

Looked at my amiibos and felt dread. Should I commit to a daily struggle of trying to get armor sets and a poop ton of food? Go even further and waste an hour by switching the clock a day ahead and redo the process over and over? Was it worth it? Hell no, but I wanted to do it anyways. I wanted to validate my amiibo purchases, although they look great on the shelf.

Starting to realize how much of a flying squirrel simulator would do nowadays as I continue to use the paraglider.

Holy crap, that shrine indicator is a teasing compass. Thanks for telling me there’s a shrine somewhere in the three square miles of this place.

#1 cause of death: standing too close to my blue bombs.

Shrine side chests after you complete the area often make you work harder than the main puzzle for something crap. Who puts a wooden spear on a ledge I have to waste 45 seconds for?

The bokoblin camps seem more tempting, more for the challenge than the prizes considering the best I got was five fire arrows.

I feel like I need to decide between getting hearts and braving the harder enemies or slink around like a frightened kitten and get stamina so I can traverse better. I love climbing stuff so I guess I either have to git gud or keep away from enemies that aren’t red for the first twenty hours of the game.

I remember how I wanted to get to each and every possible shrine I see, but now I see one and go “oh, man, I had to do *this* to get that one, it was annoying as hell”.  Haven’t seen any yet that said the opposite, but I know they’re out there. Known quantities in this game can break any enjoyment for a Zelda fan.

Cooked some food, as it was clear I was going to need as much as possible. Good money too, and I need a lot of it if I get half the armor I bought last time. Made the mistake of selling off gems when I first played. So stupid they don’t warn you how useful gems are when all they talk about is “oh man this is worth a lot of rupees!”.

Oh man, forgot about Beedle! I still can’t tell if he’s a money grubber that wants to buy the entire beetle kingdom or really likes to sell me arrows, but he’s a friendly and familiar face. I wish he continued with the flying shop contraption, but I suppose being a walking merchant is more reasonable in an environment where moblins kill anything that doesn’t have messed up teeth.

The struggle is real when you blow an enemy off a cliff and they survive. It’s like playing PLINKO with bombs trying to blow em up down below.

Catching a horse is a fun task. Enemies seem to want to ruin your fun, though.

Water graphics are amazing! I could stare at a river for hours. It also takes just as long if you try to swim across some of them.

Hello, Hestu. I seem to be in the minority in thinking that this whole expansion method is stupid. I like the collectible idea and using the currency for such things, but just… collecting golden turds by seeing what’s out of place in the environment, man… I just wish they were tokens shining on the ground in random areas that you see glint occasionally, almost Uncharted style. I do appreciate dropping the rock Koroks are hiding under on top of them and seeing them OOF at it.

Kakariko Village is a treasure mine of exploration, comfort, and story. Like, there should be at least a dozen of these cities at this size of the game. Yes, I understand they try to play off the “but Ganon’s lazer boys nearly destroyed everything” notion, but it’s clear they didn’t want to put too much effort in more side quests or story. What I would give for some human populations in the mountains. There’s what, six villages total? Six villages to visit and socialize over my 120 hours so far? They went for the silver medal by introducing horse stables which are essentially refuge centers, which, in the end, is all they really need to keep me in touch with survivors.

Hello, fairy fountain! Gosh, I love how there are sexual predator fairy women out there and no one bats an eye. You switch genders and giant hot studs are dragging Linkle into their lair to do their nasty things and it’d be an uproar. Oh well, #doublestandards #notmybattle

Paya is… alright. She feels like a Sheikah ripoff of Hinata from the Naruto manga in that she’s acting all hard crush on you and becomes viciously timid in your presence. Yeah, liking me is great and all that, but I have a Zora princess who gave her life fighting and dying for me, and Zelda is currently undergoing a 100-year sealing ritual while waiting for me. Do you think that your blushing and side glances are going to impress me? Get out of here, you think too highly of yourself if you think that’s how life will work for you. Go out and do something, get some scars or some crap.

I like the cuccos. They’re cute.

The Sheikah armor is so awesome!!! Too bad it’s incredibly expensive to get this early in the game and the effects of it are underwhelming.

I want to know what the formula for everlasting life is if multiple people lived well past a hundred years old in a post-apocalyptic world. I don’t mind they’re alive since they’re essential to the story, but how. Those Hylian shrooms do not lift the shadow off my eyes, let alone immortality.

That’s it for personal thoughts as I tear into Breath of the Wild again, hopefully reading these will jog your own memories and help you appreciate the game more (or less)! Let me know what I missed and tell what you think!

Review: Splasher [Switch Edition]

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Welcome back, ladies and germs! Being disgustingly sick all week has crippled my throat and lungs, leaving me high and dry on streaming and podcasting. As it turns out, however, my lucrative mind and fingers still function as intended and brings us to yet another TAKEALOOKSEE! With Jason giving us the deep cuts back in its PC release in February, indie developer Splashteam’s Splasher takes to the field on Switch consoles this time around!

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So, first impressions tossed right into the mix here, I got a chilling Sonic vibe from Splasher- and as I have said obnoxiously so, I have barely touched any Sonic games. I don’t know how to explain it; maybe this is what I picture a decent Sonic game to be like? To call it a Sega classic ripoff would be doing it injustice, however; this game is creative in getting your nameless, purple wigged in-need-of-a-haircut hero in getting from point A to B, with half a baker’s dozen (don’t think too hard on that) different side ventures to collect along each level.

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We’re talking about a goop shooting fanatic flying along a slime factory run by the “evil” Docteur who, since no one dares put a subtitle in this game and rather do animated comics, apparently is taking janitors like our hero and injecting them with happy juice and morphing them into blobs. Why is he doing this? I would be among the majority to think it’s for vicious, Geneva-convention banned human experimentation. However, this entire game is littered with these massive balls of spiky goop; am I to believe that the improperly spelled Docteur, whose Ph.D. is anyone’s guess beyond factory architecture, is doing the same experiment over and over with exact results?

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Someone said Albert Einstein but who the hell knows nowadays

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Let’s back it up a bit before I criticize our cigar wielding, hazmat-suited villain even further over here.

So our fella, who was once a minimum wage clean crew member, catches wind that Docteur is paying them crap wages.  Also, instead of offering a 401k retirement fund, he gives them a premature and somewhat painful looking death. Going rogue (because who just quits their job nowadays), the player is tasked with surveying through the factory and saving as many of their coworkers as they can. HR is apparently a bunch of butthole robots (I’m not crazy, this screams Sonic to me) that wants nothing more than to murder you. Talk about bad press if this gets out.

So based off the pretty little picture I painted for you, you imagine a jumping champion running around a green oozing fortress of twisting gears, blobs of death, and murder machines that make Sony’s customer support like a dream, right? Stop right there, my friends, because there’s a catch where the game’s namesake comes in. Behold, you have the power of Pure Michigan Water™ to start off with, slapping foes and ooze alike to their impending doom! Also, a poop ton of other slimes you can eventually splash anywhere you go. Starting off with the hydration station pack (I made that name up, credit goes to me and me alone), you will encounter machines just spitting away red and honey-colored slime onto the walls of this 2D platform, each offering a wild casting effect on the movement of your character.

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They start off with Knuckles colored-red goop, slowing standard movement on the floor but granting wall climbing and ceiling movement. Another, a highlight yellow slime this time, offers you a ridiculously high jump. So, if I were to best summarize how this game feels, I would summarize it as a Mega Man shooter with Sonic motions of flying around, wrapped in the color scheme of Splatoon. Collecting your coworkers as they spell out “SPLASH!” on your screen Donkey Kong Country style is also an invigorating sight without needing to do tedious tricks. It’s also a bit satisfying when you accidentally murder your co-worker as they plummet into a saw you were supposed to jump over. Whoops.

It’s fifteen American buckaroos over on the eShop. It’s mindless fun that offers platforming challenges that forces you to go back into thinking- usually after a horrifying death as I learned. The platforming paint/goo/slime/whatever it is can be frustrating as, for example, the bouncing material trajects whatever direction you may be moving (even if you’re leaning) and it launches you into the wilds, whether you wanted to go to your death or not. The music is a catchy techno theme, keeping you in tempo as you progress the vivaciously thrown platforms (some pop up last second just to keep you anxious). I also regret the lack of the “hold your ground and fire”, forcing you to move in the direction you’re shooting and often leaving you to choose between running from an enemy or risk falling off a platform.

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It’s very clear that the developers wanted this to be a fast-paced and smooth transitioning game, especially considering there’s a speedrun mechanic built into it. In fact, I would go to say that this game lives and dies behind the idea that it needs to be done as fast as theoretically possible, leaving the slow duff platformers like me to feel rushed when I just want to sit back and shoot something that resembles the past terrors of Human Resources.

Overall, it’s a good PC-to-Switch release that will have a welcoming audience by their side. It offers a decent challenge, amazing graphics, and contemporary methods of progression that will leave a positive taste in your slime filled mouth. I’m pretty sure it’s toxic, though, so don’t swallow it.

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Spoilers Gone Wild: When The Iron Is Struck Too Early

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Imagine a younger me, playing a fine afternoon of summer as days tick down towards my Junior year of high school in the year of our Nayru, 2007. What was I doing, you may ask? Playing Runescape, as any basement dweller hiding from the sun would. However, it was after an exhaustive six hours of reading a most fantastic book. Not just any book, though; no, this was the finale of the Harry Potter series, Deathly Hallows. Having worked over halfway into the book, my mind was fried by magical literature, and so I took my overworked soul into some mini-games on Jagex’s MMO, namely Castle Wars. A relatively simple venture, I was minding my own business and freezing some fool who took our flag, and in came the worst villain I have seen in Runescape history. To this day, I shall remember Buttholio69’s dark words as he ran around the field, shouting to anyone who came too close. (I don’t actually remember the dude’s name, so Buttholio69 is assumed here, as his gender for some reason).

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“Buttholio69: Glow2:flash2: HARRY POTTER DIES, DOBBY DIES, VOLDEMORT DIES, HARRY MARRIES GINNY, FRED DIES, THERE’S OWLS AND DRAGONS, NAGINI DIES, ETC. ETC”

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This foul demon Buttholio69, who I can only imagine to this day has a decent office job and sits on writing articles about movies that haven’t come out yet, succeeded in doing what he wanted; he spoiled me on the book I took a break from. Having waited months, years even, I innocently made the horrid mistake of going to a public interface without finishing one my favorite books of my high school days. It might have been the best book ever, but unfortunately the shock value Joanne Rowling had in store for me was snatched away, leaving a bitter aftertaste in the wake of finer plot points.

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Of course, we all have had that moment happen to us. Game of Throne fans have been black lighting their Facebook accounts and shutting down their Twitter use with every season. It certainly hasn’t done us much good when a single person has just enough control of contacting us, indirectly or no, to say the wrong words at the wrong time. All it tastes is one picture, one tweet, one excited post of someone who watched it the second it comes out and wants the world to know of their glorious accomplishment. Are those people monsters, though?

No, not really, but you bet your Star Wars VHS collection that for the first few seconds you want to make a voodoo doll for them. 

It still throttles my simple mind that people think it’s a valid strategy to “be the first” at the cost of ruining other’s first impressions. What good do the extra clicks give when ultimately your fan base gets burnt by your work? By long-term standards, it’s almost website suicide, depending on what the dark words happen to be about. Young studs with the power of knowledge seem to think that they’ll be battered with praises on YouTube when they blast people’s recommended videos with “GAME THAT CAME OUT 24 HOURS AGO AND ALL THE BOSSES AND CUTSCENES”, slathering their preview picture with more spoilers than a Honda Civic.

Hell, I bet in the mid-90s when Titanic came out that if there was a widespread internet, people would be screaming from the highest wifi towers, “OMG DID YOU SEE THE SHIP SINK??”.

Oh, and heads up:

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Should I get over all of it? Probably. It’s futile to think that secrets people of the world can access will stay secret from you for long. The age of the internet has gifted and cursed us with the fastest form of information spread, and to be angry that the few of the millions are freaking attention seeking idiots is a fool’s game. On the flip side, does that mean I shouldn’t let myself be excited over the mystery of the story? That’s almost as cruel, thinking about it. I suppose the only advice I can offer is to constrict your eyes when you treasure those moments, and do your best to flame someone positively, like compliment their dumb face that they have plastered next to their tweet about how such and such events that happen in the currently unreleased Mario Odyssey, which comes out this October 27th.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my whining butt back to the corner and temporarily gouge my eyes out so I don’t have to read about Bowser and Mario’s pepperoni nipples and why they represent the upcoming Nintendocalypse. I don’t even know what that means.

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Podcast Review: Wulverblade (Switch)

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Seth recently tackled the hardcore sidescroller, Wulverblade, available on Nintendo Switch at this link.

Don’t forget you can find us at www.playsomevideogames.com

Twitter: @PSVG | Facebook YouTube | email us: podcast@playsomevideogames.com

PSVG reviewed Wulverblade after receiving a download code from the developer.

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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)

Tyler’s Takealooksee: Too Kind Studios’ Pankapu

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Looks like it’s that time of the week, folks! The Nintendo eShop has yet another slew of new titles to explore and try, and this time around we have one to give a hands-on experience! Too Kind Studios’ Kickstarter project in 2015 gave rise to the well-animated title Pankapu: the Dreamkeeper for the Steam platform in 2016. Now in the year of our Nayru 2017, Too Kind has managed to breathe another chance of life into their title by bringing it onto the Switch console. Check out the video below as I give it a shot!

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From first glance, the game is gorgeous. Hand drawn animations by professional and loving hands, smooth and high-quality textures, and a glowing parallax foreground and background gives life to the environment, lush with platforming puzzles, collectibles, and enemies alike. Frittled with shadowy creatures whose names are one of a hundred I couldn’t even try to remember in this game, the combat is single noted with the promise of new forms of button mashing combos. The fighting style was forced and controlling, not allowing me to defend myself while airborne or able to throw my sword while midair, leaving me frustrated with some battle scenarios.

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The game encourages level replayability, leaving a nostalgic feel of Shantae in needing new powers and forms to traverse fresh sections of older maps. The collectibles are almost necessary in order to gain permanent health, making me feel like I need to halt the story just so I can have a little bit more survivability. Having to complete 100 mini-challenges just for a single extra “heart” seems daunting just so you can eat another hit or two; at that point, I would hope I was so acquainted with the game that I wouldn’t need it in the first place!

The game offers different forms of combat as you continue into the game and hopefully will deliver a satisfyingly clean breath of freedom to how you tackle the dozens of foes you encounter throughout the game.

The music is top caliber for each area, and probably the most impressive point of the game (besides the small bits of super sweet narrations by Kai Kennedy). Properly themed and well written, the music had a lot of hard work put into this title.

Pankapu is a fun and loving platformer that will reach to a younger audience with ease while providing a challenge to the lesser degree of StudioMDHR’s Cuphead. Those looking for another game that can give the same feel as SNES title Disney’s Magical Quest will instantly recognize a sense of reminiscence, allowing you to brave another chance into a magically drawn and mystically inspired world.

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Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Review (Switch)

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OK, I know what you are thinking…didn’t they already review this game? And the answer is yes, but not on the Nintendo Switch. We wanted to take some time and test out this title again on Nintendo’s hardware. Kyle reviewed this one originally, and now it’s time to get my take on it. I did not read Kyle’s review again before reviewing this myself, so lets see how close we both felt on Oceanhorn.

Keeping in mind originally this was a mobile title, this is insane to imagine paying this on a phone. So if you had and skipped out on any console version, I think you should go back, this doesn’t feel like a mobile game at all to me. The developers definitely spent some extra time putting on the polish before porting it over. But i’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Let’s start with the story first, here is the official description from the developers:

“Grow from a boy to a legend.

You wake up and find a letter from your father. He is gone…

The only lead is his old notebook and a mysterious necklace. What happened?

Explore the islands of Uncharted Seas, a world filled with many dangers, puzzles and secrets. Fight monsters, learn to use magic and discover ancient treasures which will help you on your quest. Use all your wits and skill to unravel the mysteries of the ancient kingdom Arcadia and sea monster Oceanhorn.

Oceanhorn combines captivating storytelling, breathtaking 3D visuals and exciting gameplay into one massive action adventure experience you will never forget.

Enjoy an incredible soundtrack from the best video game composers in the world: Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and Kenji Ito (Seiken Densetsu).”

Alright so let’s see, silent protagonist? check. Sword and a shield? check. Sailing from island to island? check. Affinity to throwing pots and jars? check….wait a minute this sounds very familiar….but you know what? I’m ok with it. While some make say it’s a knockoff or an imitation, I don’t. You can be inspired by other aspects in other games but still provide enough legs and heart to make it your own. Oceanhorn does just that.

The game plays out across a series of islands that play out more like a unique dungeon experience each time. There are a variety of different puzzles on each of them that will require some back and forth for sure as you get new items and unlock new skills. To get from island to island you hop in your ship and can shoot some enemies and barrels and such to get more XP and gems. I jokingly said it has better naval combat than Black Flag on twitter…while it may not be better…I had more fun with it lol. Each island allows for a little bit of exploration to find some hidden areas and chests but for the most part you are clearly guided in a direction on each island of where to go, now whether or not you can complete the island with what you have currently is a different story. As you progress through the game you unlock other weapons, items and spells to help you along the way. The button placement for me took a little getting used to, I would find myself throwing bombs alot when I meant to attack with my sword. But overall not a big deal to work with!

The puzzles are definitely a big focus in this game. While at the beginning hours they are relatively simple and just require some back and forth they do get a little more difficult towards the latter half. I am not entirely sure if they are really harder or more just obscure to figure out/find. Boss battles were pretty easy as is most of the combat in the game, while not really challenging it made for a fun and lighthearted experience. The game overall takes around I’d say 8-10 hours depending on how much exploration or how many side quests you go after.

Graphics are cartoony but well done. While there is lack of facial animation and such, for a downloadable indie title, I think it’s very good. There are clearly different environments on different islands and doesn’t get too repetitive with the visuals except in caves sometimes. Most of my gameplay was done in handheld mode and I can say it was flawless. I did not have any “chugging” or lag or frame rate drops at all. Which I applaud the developers for taking the time to really make this the best experience they could. Playing it docked on the big screen does show a little more how some of the animation is a little rough, but overall nothing to be concerned about.

The music in this game is a major highlight. They had some really talented folks working on it and it shows. At certain points its whimsical and light and other points dark and epic which fits the tone of the game very well. Definitely stands out as a great soundtrack in recent memory for myself within games.

All in all I think this is a great summer time pick up for some fun. Plus at it’s $15 price point, you really can’t go wrong! So if you are down for some exploration and some high seas action, I recommend giving Oceanhorn a whirl! With the sequel already in the works, grab this one today!

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

Review: ARMS for Nintendo Switch

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It’s the third round of a tight match-up in ARMS. My Ribbon Girl’s life meter is dwindling away, dropping close to the 25-percent mark after my opponent — a particularly adept Kid Cobra — catches me with a throw.

Ribbon Girl shakes it off and charges up her ARMS. She’s rocking two standard boxing gloves right now, one with the ice power and one with electricity. Jump. Air-dodge. Jump again. Let the electric glove fly, and it connects! She throws a paralyzed Kid Cobra to the ground, and now both competitors’ special meters are filled.

ARMS, the newest IP from Nintendo, has caught me by surprise. To be honest, it’s got a lot of things going against it: I’m not good at fighting games; the art style initially comes off as too “kid” for me; single-player mode is scant, and the overall menu seems a little barren on the surface. But I tried the test punch out, and from the first fight I was hooked.

The controls for ARMS are delightfully simple. While this could be a detriment to a fighting game, it works tremendously well in this setting. You can play the game however you want to: Motion controls; Joy Con Controller; sideways Joy Con; Pro Controller; and handheld. I’ve tried each way except the sideways Joy Con, and success can be found in any configuration.

Whether pushing buttons or flailing your own arms, the controls are intuitive. One button throws each ARM out, while pushing both at the same time tosses both out for a grapple maneuver. Push the stick in to block; one button for jump, and another for dash. There are no preset combos. The variety steps in when you use each different character and start to experiment with the different ARMS.

Currently, speed is a clear advantage in the game. The characters I’m best with, and worst against, are the fastest. We’re talking Ninjara, Kid Cobra, Min Min and Ribbon Girl. But the larger characters, like Mechanica and Master Mummy, have their own strengths and are hard to defeat against a skilled competitor.

Each character has special traits. Twintelle can float in the air and slow down time around her; Spring Man’s ARMS stay charged when he has low health; Helix can stretch really tall or dodge punches by squishing himself down to the ground.

Throughout your play you will unlock each of the game’s 30 ARMS for each character through a target-punching mini game that you play after earning a certain number of coins. Initially, I disliked this way of unlocking the ARMS and thought it rather slow. However, once I waited to cash in my coins until I could play longer, unlocking the ARMS became more satisfying.

This is where the real strategy of the game comes in. Each ARM has different properties and abilities. Heavy ARMS can push lighter ones out of the way; electric charges can paralyze your opponent; fire abilities burn and cause additional damage, and so-forth. I love experimenting with different combinations to give each of my characters a different flavor as I try to take out my opponents.

ARMS’ single-player component is mostly found in the Grand Prix. This is a straight-up ladder system, where you pick a character and run through the other nine characters to get to a final boss — Max Brass, who will be released as a free DLC playable character in July. Difficulty ranges from 1 to 7, with 1-3 serving as a decent intro. The game really ramps up at difficulty 4 and makes the player approach fights with an actual plan.

The game also lets you go through the Grand Prix with a partner, which is an enjoyable way to bring a less experienced player into the fold. ARMS lets you save your progress in the mode, so you don’t have to take on all 10 fights in one session, and it also has separate saves for the single- and two-player modes.

There’s also a local versus mode, which you can play with 1-4 people. You can play one-on-one; a triple threat match; a Fatal Four-Way (sorry…wrestling terminology); a 2-on-2 match (that is hampered by being attached to your teammate); volleyball; basketball and a skillshot challenge. There’s also a 1-vs-100 mode where you take out 10 waves of opponents, culminating in a fight against the very difficult Hedlock.

Online, you can play in Party Mode, which is a casual lobby that tosses you up against opponents in any of the game’s versus modes. This is a great way to learn new characters.

There’s also the Ranked fighting mode, which consists solely of 1-on-1 fights with now power ups or bombs. Players can access this mode only after beating Grand Prix on level 4, so you know your opponents are at least decent at the game. There are certain characters that seem to come out on top a lot — Kid Cobra is my personal Kryptonite — and throws can be spammed to great success by a skilled opponent. But there’s always a counter, if you’re good enough to take advantage.

Finally, you can also set up a room for private play with your online friends.

ARMS has a surprising amount of replayability. I’m currently working my way through Grand Prix with each character, while also playing Ranked Matches. Online has worked very well so far, with it taking only 10 seconds or less to find a match in Ranked Online.

Speaking of that…

Ribbon Girl and Kid Cobra are now up on their feet, both with their special meters filled. Neither wants to make the first move. Cobra charges his ARMS and starts to dart around quickly. Ribbon Girl says patient and dodges a throw attempt.

Kid Cobra hits his special attack and starts flailing away! Ribbon girl jumps into the air, and jumps three more times to the side while Cobra is worn down. She hits the special, and unloads on Kid Cobra with a flurry of punches! KO!

My ARMS experience is filled with moments like this; with tense fights coming down to the wire in both single-player and online modes. The excitement provokes that “just one more” match feeling, and before I know it, I’ve played 10 more matches.

If you’ve got a Switch, you owe it to yourself to play ARMS.

 

Review: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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If you think of the Nintendo Switch as a portable, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an incredible leap for the series compared to Mario Kart 7 on 3DS. If the Nintendo Switch is your home console, then Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers the same great experience as it did on Wii U with some added perks of battle mode and a resolution uptick. The art of racing is nearly perfect making Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a must buy for any Switch owner, but we still feel the game lacks balance at the higher competitive levels as some characters simply outperform others.

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Review: Kamiko

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Are you looking for a bite-sized, quick fix, on your Nintendo Switch? I can recommend the perfect title for you, Kamiko. Developed by the indie team at Skipmore, Kamiko is charming little “action RPG” that is thrives in small play sessions and the “on the go” spirit that lies in the heart of the Nintendo Switch.

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Overview

Assume the role of one of three shrine maidens and battle your way across four gorgeous pixel-chunk landscapes. Each maiden has a unique weapon and charge-up ability to help push through the mobs of re-spawning demons. For each enemy slain, you gather and earn SP, which is then used to unlock certain puzzles and open the four shrines contained within each stage. It’s a simple action setup that really just fits within the game. Once the shrines are activated you are able to progress forward to a boss encounter. My first run took me a little over an hour and now that I am familiar with the mechanics, I can rush through the game in twenty to thirty minutes. Now I’m definitely not participating in AGDQ anytime soon, but at least you get a rough idea of what to expect. I’ve played exclusively in handheld mode and I feel that is where this game is best served.

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Story

There is a loose story at play here about saving humans and some divine powers, but this game is all about the gameplay. Slashing your way through levels, dumping bosses, and trying to crush your previous play sessions length. There is a secret item to find within each stage for you completionists out there and a special menu to unlock. I won’t give away the secret here.

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Experience

So, you might be wondering if this game is worth the price of admission? Three characters…that’s only going to last maybe three hours. Here’s where Kamiko stands out. It’s just a fun experience. The art is fantastic and the soundtrack for the game is just, well, awesome. It’s exactly the same reason I fell in love with “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery” years ago. The art and the audio (I love chiptune!) just complete the experience, that together, create a fun play environment. Isn’t that why we play games in the first place? Still not sold? This game is $4.99!  That’s it! You’ve seen horrible movies that cost more than this I bet, so that really throws out that entire element of risk, give it a shot.

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Conclusion

Kamiko is a great addition to your Nintendo Switch library. It requires no commitment and is at the bargain-basement price. Don’t let this one pass you by.

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Quick Hits

+Bargain-Price     -Length

+Soundtrack         -Replayability

+Art Style

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Mr. Shifty Review – Switch

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Mr. Shifty is a game with a lot of potential that, at launch at least, is rendered nearly unplayable by performance issues on the Nintendo Switch. In a game that is fully reliant on having quick reflexes, and where one errant move can erase minutes of progress, these issues are unacceptable.

During my playthrough, I died tens of times due to lag. The game slows to a stop when a weapon breaks; or when things explode; or when too many enemies are on screen. Mr. Shifty also crashed on me twice near the end of particularly difficult levels, causing much frustration as I had to trek through the levels again.

I didn’t play a single level that didn’t have some level of frame dropping, out of the 18 levels. On the craziest levels, I died nearly 50 times — not entirely due to lag, but at least partly.

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And, yet: I pushed through. Mr. Shifty has a great gameplay loop, with a sort of remix on the excellent gameplay found in Hotline Miami.

In Mr. Shifty, the titular character is infiltrating a skyscraper with the goal of stealing Mega Plutonium from the building so that the evil mastermind on the top floor can’t use it for some nefarious plot to take over the world. Or something.

Mr. Shifty has a special power to warp around the level. With a simple button press, you can zip around through walls, doors or behind enemies. Shifty has a limited number of shifts that he can make at a time, with a lengthy reset if you use too many at once.

While enemies have guns ranging from pistols to machine guns, shotguns and dual-wielding pistols, Shifty can only use his fists and other melee-centric items he might find, in addition to a few weapons he can through. Other enemies include big brawlers and guys with bombs. Each level presents a different puzzle to get to the end. While setting a plan is important, improvisation is even more important, as your initial plan is likely to go awry.

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This improvisation is the key as to what I liked about Mr. Shifty, and why I couldn’t put the game down until I beat it, despite the performance issues. Punching enemies is relentlessly satisfying, and the bullet-time effect that comes into play after many successful attacks makes you feel like you’re Neo in The Matrix.

The story presented in Mr. Shifty is scant and forgettable. You’re a special agent of some sort trying to stop Generic Bad Guy from using Generic Bomb Matter Thing to take over the world. After beating the game, there is little incentive to revisit the levels, unless you want to beat them faster or in fewer deaths. However, as there is no online leaderboard or achievement system, the game doesn’t provide external motivation to replay it.

Finally, the last showdown with the boss is unsatisfying and anticlimactic. The final level leading up to it is immensely difficult, and I couldn’t help but feel let down by the final “fight.”

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As I said up top, Mr. Shifty is a really good game with solid mechanics and a lot of challenge. It’s got a lot of style, and the 3-to-5-hour playtime is plenty for the price point, even without much incentive to revisit it.

The biggest problem for the game is the current technical issues on the Switch. It’s bad enough that I think the game should not have been released until the issues were ironed out. The developer has stated that it is working on fixing the issues, but as of this review, the game is just in too rough a shape to recommend.

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Mr. Shifty was purchased and reviewed by the author on a Nintendo Switch console. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

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PSVG 70: Reviewcast – Zelda Breath of the Wild

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Donnie, Kevin, & Seth convene the Nintendo Shack and bring along a special guest, Jacob Rush from Nintendo Nostalgia, to give you our full insights and final review for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We hope you enjoy the episode and remember to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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