Showing posts from 2017

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Super Mario Odyssey is the latest entry in what is arguably the most iconic video game series of all time. Nintendo chose to go back to Mario's three dimensional roots instead of the linear, level based game style we saw with the 3DS's Super Mario 3D Land and the Wii U's Super Mario 3D World. Instead of just giving us a rehash of Super Mario 64 with a new take on Princess Peach's castle, or returning to the Super Mario Galaxy series, it chose to incorporate open world elements and give us a choice of paths to take. This offered a fresh take on the series, and further breathed new life into what we could have expected by incorporating a possession mechanic that has been painfully under-utilized, as I pointed out in my review for Avenging Spirit, and something not seen since the Nintendo co-developed and published title Geist for the Nintendo GameCube.

Super Mario Odyssey looks amazing. This is the most detailed that Mario himself has ever been. All of the worlds have v…

Plantera Deluxe (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Plantera Deluxe is a cute little clicker garden builder game. It is laughably described as being a relaxing game to chill out with. While it is an incredibly adorable affair, and the idea of planting your garden calls to mind serenity, the intense action that happens as a result does not put you in a relaxed state.

You plant your garden from a list of produce, and then you can help your little anthropomorphic blobs help harvest when they ripen. This becomes exponentially more important as pests begin to eat your produce if you don't harvest it or whack them. Speaking of which, it's strangely satisfying to hit a fox with your disembodied mallet. 

You'll find yourself rapidly tapping the screen to keep up with it all, and every fruit harvested gains you money that can be used to expand your garden and buy new plants to cultivate as you go.

While the game doesn't offer the depth of farming simulation that other games will bring, it's still a lot of mindless fun and v…

Hammerwatch (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Hammerwatch, much like Nine Parchments, is a callback to classic hack n' slash dungeon crawlers like Gauntlet, but is much simpler in it's execution. It plays out much like many modern rogue likes without being one itself.

The game controls well, and while you have a couple of options for classes, they really don't play out much differently in single player mode. While playing multiplayer, you will notice that having different classes balances the game's difficulty a bit better, though. The game walks this really fine line between tedium and enthralling, somehow.

While the core game itself is rather repetitive, and overly simplistic, you will still find yourself coming back for more on every death. When playing alone, every time you die, you will be transported back to the beginning of the level, but all of the enemies that you've defeated so far will be gone. This makes it easier to progress further into the level this time around. Unfortunately, the game has a v…

Unepic (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Unepic is a love letter to old school role playing games presented as an explorative, sidescrolling action RPG. In other words, it is a Metroidvania. The game draws you in from the opening, and keeps you coming back for more with it's charming sprite work and intuitive controls.

First off, you need to understand that the game has a deep inventory system, and that switching between weapons and using consumables is made much easier by having a comprehensive shortcut system. You can assign a button combo to up to twelve items from your inventory. Hold either L, R, or both at once, along with pressing A, B, X, or Y to switch weapons or use the item. Each type of weapon is useful for different situations, so it is important to assign your primary weapons to whatever combo feels most natural to you. I like to assign my three main weapons (sword, mace, bow) to (R) X, Y, and B (respectively), and my healing potion to A. Then I assign other weapons and transportation items to L. Again, th…

Bleed (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Bleed is a high-style, fast-paced action platformer with an interesting control scheme and great attention to detail. Originally released as part of the Xbox Live Indie Games program, it later came to Steam, and has now arrived on the Switch via publisher Digerati.

Bleed has good level design, and brings a lot of new elements to the action platformer experience that we might normally associate with other genres. For one, it uses a control scheme that is better associated with twin stick shooters. You move around with the left stick(or direction buttons), but rolling the right analog stick around fires your weapon in the corresponding direction. You press ZR to jump, hold ZL to enter slow motion(bullet time) mode, which depletes your time meter, and cycle through your two weapons using the shoulder buttons.
The bullet time allows you to get your bearings and manage a large hoard of enemies when they start filling the screen or coming from all directions. This is a nice touch that brin…

One More Dungeon (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

One More Dungeon is a pixelated throwback to the good ol' dungeon crawlin' days of yore. We play from a first person perspective as we make our way through the pseudo-3D, procedurally generated labyrinths.

One More Dungeon is a roguelike that allows you to purchase upgrades to be used on subsequent play-throughs.
All of the usual trappings are here- different weapons and staffs(that have their own associated elemental magic), potions, and other items that can be hot keyed for future use.

Navigation is done with the left stick, while the right stick shifts the camera. L uses your staff to sling magic projectiles, and R swings your melee weapon. The directional buttons are your hot keys, and plus pauses the game and brings up the menu. Y button pulls up the map, X pulls up your inventory.

You use magic crystals to use your magic projectiles, and these can only be recovered by finding them lying around the level. One of the above mentioned upgrades is the ability to start off th…

Thimbleweed Park (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Thimbleweed Park is a modern day point and click graphic adventure title that is a spiritual successor to Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island by those games' designers, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. It is a throwback to those simple, but fun designs of the eighties-era adventure games, and would be treated as an unreleased entry in that style of game.

Just as Maniac Mansion called on tropes of campy horror movies, Thimbleweed Park draws it's inspiration from supernatural and noire detective shows such as The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and True Detective. The first of which is immediately obvious when you catch your first glance of the protagonists of our story, Ray and Reyes, whom have been assigned to the sleepy town of Thimbleweed Park to investigate a murder.

It becomes apparent very quickly that nothing is as it seems about our protagonists, and that this is no regular sleepy town. You explore the town speaking to various characters, asking questions and collecting o…

Splatoon 2 (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Splatoon 2 is the latest entry in the fresh, young Nintendo franchise introduced on the Wii U. The first entry sold very well, and so Nintendo strengthened their launch year lineup of the Switch, Splatoon 2. From the moment of the reveal, it has been widely debated about whether this game was a port with some expansion packs built in, or if it was truly a new game. With an all new single player campaign, tons of new gear, and some extra game modes, Nintendo made it quite clear that this was a true sequel. While many reviews will focus on contrasting and comparing the first and second games, I won't be doing that. I am being direct in saying that I have never played the first one, and only had a passing interest in it to begin with.

As I noted in my post from yesterday, the Splatoon Global Testfire Weekends convinced me that this was a game for me. While I was already committed to buying the game for my daughters to play, If it wasn't for that fact, I may not have even tried t…

Splatting New Life into a Stale Genre

***You can read my review for Splatoon 2 here***

Many people that are familiar with me know that I'm not a huge fan of online shooters. Most of them are first person affairs, and I have always felt that the genre has been pretty stale for a very long time. While it was an early meme that FPS had turned into a genre of retread war shooters that all felt like the same game with slight variations, the integration of them with the world of online multiplayer matches made them feel even more samey in my eyes. Compounding this problem was the reality that developers had begun shifting there efforts with the games from having a strong, single player campaign which also had online features to simplified and shortened single player campaigns that more or less acted as a prolonged tutorial to acquaint their players with the controls and mechanics that were fully fleshed out in the online multiplayer.

This new breed of online multiplayer centric shooters brought a new breed of gamer into the…

Sparkle 2 on the Switch Effect

10 tons has quickly become one of the most prolific indie game devs/publishers on the Nintendo Switch, and I had the pleasure of reviewing yet another one of their games for The Switch Effect.

Sparkle 2 on The Switch Effect
Check it out, and make sure to check the appropriate social media links for myself and The Switch Effect to get the latest updates.

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Tennis in the Face (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

10tons has provided us all with another fun game to fill up our precious Nintendo Switch memory cards. Tennis in the Face is a physics puzzle game that asks the question- what happens if I use my tennis skills to destroy clowns, police, and hipsters? A whole hell of a lot of hilarity, is what. 

World famous tennis legend Pete Pagassi is arrested after trying to break into sponsor Explodz energy drink's warehouse to get more of the good stuff. After this, he realizes that he has been driven by addiction, and vows to dismantle the evil corporation to get Explodz off the shelves. It's absurd, but fittingly so. I couldn't help but find myself laughing at the story bears delivered via newspaper headlines, and often found myself smiling at the slightest things during game play. 

Like many physics-based puzzle games before it, Tennis in the Face relies on obstacles, platforms, and precarious arrangement of volatile items. There are glass barriers that can be destroyed, but also d…

Teslagrad (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Teslagrad is a beautiful journey through a dystopian, steampunk world based on Eastern Europe. The game begins with a little orphan boy being chased through the streets of his hometown by scary looking, and very burly men. The art is breathtaking, and you quickly notice the well thought out level design while climbing over and across the roofs and streets of this grimey world. Seeking refuge from his pursuers, your character jumps in the ruins of a massive castle as it's drawbridge castle is closing.

Once inside, you quickly discover a gauntlet that allows you to manipulate magnetic fields, which quickly turns the game from a platformer into one that focuses on environmental puzzles and interesting boss fights. Using the shoulder buttons, you can switch red and blue blocks, boxes, platforms, and other objects from one color to the other. Doing this creates a reaction as you might expect- like colors repel each other, and opposite colors attract. You will need to learn how to use …

Yono and the Celestial Elephants (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Yono and the Celestial Elephants was exactly the style of game that I needed in this harrowing line of video game review. You see, I partially play video games, as many do, as an escape from the harsh realities of everyday life. Wildfires, a child that doesn't want to eat veggies, war, etc. So, while I have played and reviewed a wide variety of games as of late, I've noticed that many of them have been very intense, skill based, or super challenging. Some were even incredibly ultra- violent (Slain: Back from Hell). After all of that, I needed a simplistic, colorful world full of fun, and innocent hijinks.

Enter Yono and the Celestial Elephants. In this game, we exist in a world in which Elephants only visit every millenium, and their function in this world seems to be that of entities that help people with their problems to make the world a better place overall. By helping one person, we help everybody, essentially. Now, the game does address some more serious themes than you…

The Sexy Brutale (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

The Sexy Brutale is an interesting blend of genres, and it's making it's way to the Nintendo Switch eShop later today. A combination stealth and point and click adventure game with some action puzzle elements. The Sexy Brutale takes these components and makes them mesh like clockwork.

At it's heart, The Sexy Brutale is a murder mystery. Set in a lavish casino resort where the main protagonist gains a limited mastery of time, you use this and other abilities gained throughout the game to observe, then use this information after going back in time and prevent the deaths of each guest invited to The Sexy Brutale. You gain this ability by being touched on your mask by a mysterious, bloody figure. A number of guests have been invited to the Sexy Brutale as special guests of the owner for a very exclusive party. Everyone is assigned a mask, including the staff. The staff is summarily going through the resort and eliminating the guests one by one, seemingly directed by the whims…

Riptide GP: Renegade (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Riptide GP: Renegade is a modern day take on the jetski racing genre popularized by such games as Jet Moto and Wave Race 64 20 years ago. While the other games had later entries in their series, they have both been dormant for the last two generations. While the game has been released on various platforms, it is now making its way to the Nintendo Switch. Will it fill the gap that Nintendo has created?

The short answer is, yes. While it eschews my childhood favorite dolphin mode, Riptide GP: Renegade drips personality and depth that the previously mentioned series never quite achieved.

First of all, the game introduces us to a story through it's tutorial level. In it, your chosen racer is competing in an illegal hydro jet race against your nemesis, and while navigating the waters and learning how to control your craft, you get busted by the police and thrown in jail. Two years later, you're back on the scene and craving vengeance on the course.

The basic structure of the campa…

Slain: Back From Hell (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Slain: Back from Hell is a brutal tribute to action platformers of days gone by. While it might immediately call to mind Castlevania from screenshots, it doesn't really feel like a Castlevania clone, and that's a very good thing. While they are both set in bloody, gothic worlds, and you fight grotesque monstrosities in both, the similarities end right there. The pixelated graphics bring a nice aesthetic to the player and enemy sprites, and make the world seem that much more demonic. Smooth, modern animations prevent the game from looking outdated, and bring a nice fluidity to the combat. Plus, it has one of the most bad-ass heavy metal soundtracks in a video game.

Slain: Back from Hell is a challenging action- platformer that puts you in the role of Bathoryn. Bathoryn is a warrior resurrected (unwillingly) by the gods to combat an evil that has seemingly returned to the land after being put down by Bathoryn before. As is usually the case with side scrollers, you make your way…