Showing posts from 2018

[Review] SNK 40th Anniversary Collection - Nintendo Switch

Of all the venerable video game developers out there, SNK is probably the company whose earlier legacy is largely forgotten. Most often associated with The Neo-Geo line of consoles and their amazing lineup of 2d fighting games, it is nice to see a collection of the early years when SNK was primarily focused on making quality arcade titles covering a larger variety of genres. The SNK 40th Anniversary Collection starts off with thirteen titles, but closer to twenty games since it not only includes the arcade version of the games, but the console versions as well.

The initial lineup includes Alpha Mission, Athena, Crystalis, Ikari Warriors, Ikari III: The Rescue, Victory Road, Guerilla War, P.O.W., Prehistoric Isle, Psycho Soldier, Street Smart, Vanguard, and TNK-III (the console version is Iron Tank). I mention off the bat that this will be the initial lineup because there will eventually be eleven more games released as DLC on December 11. Nine of those will be included in a patch, and…

[Review] SkyScrappers - Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is known for it's currently amazing and ever-expanding library of multiplayer games. Ant Workshop brings us Ground Shatter's SkyScrappers, an arcade style platform fighting game. The game has a few different modes, allowing for local multiplayer and featuring a single player campaign. There are also two different ways to win- by eliminating all of your opponents, or making it to the top of the Skyscraper. You see, SkyScrapper's namesake and gimmick comes from it's setting- a recently demolished skyscrapper has been demolished, and you and a varying number of fighters are participating in a deadly game of ascending to the top of the falling building while fighting off your opponents. There are falling objects that can be used to bounce to a higher level, as well as hazards that can deplete your health bar.

Story mode finds you picking one of four fighters, and then fighting your way through different combinations of the other three while pursuing vi…

[Review] Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana - Nintendo Switch

The Ys games have an unfortunate legacy of being overshadowed by the colossi of the roleplaying genre. Fortunately for them, however, they have always been solid entries into the genre, and ever since they found their true footing in the Playstation 2 era, have definitely been steamrolling in popularity. At least, steamrolling by JRPG standards. Each subsequent release has been warmly welcomed and praised, but the majority have been on handhelds the last two generations (most notably on the PSP and Vita).

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is another such entry. It was originally designed for the Playstation Vita, then released later for the Playstation 4, PC, and now the Nintendo Switch. It is quite obvious from the game's graphics that it was developed for a lower powered system, but very rarely do these somewhat muddy graphics affect the gameplay. The draw distance isn't great, and the enemies will appear on screen at a fixed point, but instead of pacing back and forth, they are lo…

[Review] Flipping Death - Nintendo Switch

Flipping Death is the latest masterpiece from Zoink! Games, and a true return to form after the unique departure that was Fe. Upon entering the world of Flipping Death, we are treated to a humorous animated opening featuring that bizarre charm we have come to expect from the team at Zoink! where Penny, our heroine, is working in a funeral home, and "livening things up a bit". This gets her fired, and after an unfortunate car accident leads to Penny and her boyfriend taking shelter in a graveyard mausoleum for a makeout session, she falls through the floor and dies. Upon arriving in the after life, she encounters Death, who just needs a vacation. She is press ganged into taking over, and now must use her newfound powers and abilities to help put the spirits of Flatwood Peaks to rest.

The primary game mechanic at play in Flipping Death lends itself to the title- wherein you are Death, and you flip between the world of the dead and the world of the living. Penny is able to poss…

[Review] TETRA's Escape - Nintendo Switch

TETRA's Escape is the latest Ratalaika game to grace our beloved Nintendo Switch, and I love the hardworking team over at Ratalaika. The sheer depth of variety and experiences found in the existing Ratalaika Games library to be found on the Switch is impressive. TETRA's Escape is a puzzle platformer that takes on a very familiar mainstay of the puzzle genre- the four squared tetrominoes we all know and love, and puts them into a new and interesting situation.

We have a framing narrative that all of the tetrominoes have been transported to another dimension, and we need to save them! This is all well and good, but how does TETRA's Escape play out to be something aside from a Tetris knockoff while still using tetrominoes? Well, I'm glad you asked. We are tasked with using the various tetrominoes to create steps and bridges for our little tetra pieces to navigate around different levels to get from the start to the finish. Along the way we are given some star collectibles…

Super Mega Preview Roundup! With News!

So, I'm sure that you have all noticed that my content creation has quickly tapered off over the last couple of months. While a lot of this initially had to do with me simply spreading myself out too thin, writing for 5 additional websites in addition to my own, the rest has had to do with a number of factors.
The first of which is that I took on a second job, in addition to my full time job. On top of that, summer came, and I was spending most of my time not spent working or sleeping, with my family enjoying the outdoors and lovely weather. Of course, this meant that I was finding myself with less and less time to actually play all of these amazing games. Then, when work started slowing down and many camping trips were had, I finally had time to dive back into the games that I was responsible for covering on my own publication...and tragedy struck. Not just one, but both of our family cats got into something toxic in the neighborhood. This does not seem to have been anything inte…

[Review] Candle: The Power of the Flame - Nintendo Switch

In the beginning, the gods created light- and that light brought life. From that life, darkness sprang. The dark life forms used their will and cunning to dominate others, and the gods were not pleased. They extinguished the light of life with a purging fire, only to bring back the clean dark and start anew. They wished to make another attempt at life, with the hopes that this time, life would not use their malice to dominate others, again. Candle: The Power of the Flame begins with us possibly witnessing the beginning of this new end, and puts us into a world that is somewhat familiar, but just alien enough to keep it's placement in the timeline vague for story purposes. 
This beautiful world hand painted in pastels and watercolors, is full of lush vegetation and somewhat primal trappings. Maybe not ancient, but not yet in the modern ages. The magnificent voice work, beautiful art style, and beautiful music paint an amazing picture, and this is essential for the whole gameplay ex…

[Review] Super Destronaut DX - Nintendo Switch

Super Destronaut DX is the latest port from Ratalaika Games, and it brings with it a lot of old school arcade flavor.

At its most basic, Super Destronaut DX is a colorfully stylish update on the classic Space Invaders formula. For the five people out there that haven't played the arcade classic, there is an advancing horde of aliens on screen that move left or right, and then drop one line towards your gunner ship. You can only move your ship left or right, and are otherwise glued to the bottom of the screen. You shoot up towards the aliens, and occasionally you get shields to hide behind as they reign projectiles down upon you. It's an utterly simple formula, and the primary goal is to clear the screen of alien waves that become increasingly quicker and stronger as you go on. Take too many hits, and you die. Aliens get to the bottom of the screen? Game over.

Super Destronaut DX also offers a local multiplayer mode where you and a buddy can zap invaders together, simultaneousl…

[Review] West of Loathing - Nintendo Switch

As I previously mentioned in my Super Preview Roundup! from May, I have been looking forward to West of Loathing basically since it's announcement. It's release on the Nintendo Switch has finally enabled me to slaughter ghostly cows and grind skeleton bones on the go. So, was the excitement and wait worth it?

West of Loathing is based upon a browser based game that I had previously never heard of called "Kingdom of Loathing". It reached between 100,000 and 150,000 active players in 2008, and became profitable through donations and merchandising sales instead of utilizing a subscription service. The MMO spawned a kickstarter funded card game entitiled Mr. Card Game, and now we've been treated to the latest spinoff, a single-player role playing game full of the simplistic stick figure based artwork and surreal humor that fans of the series have come to expect. As a person that was previously ignorant of the series, I will say that the humor hits often, and feels c…

[Review] Miles and Kilo - Nintendo Switch

Miles and Kilo is Four Horses' follow up to endless runner Kid Tripp. As I've noted in my other reviews of sequels, it is usually expected that when a developer makes a new entry in a series, that they show off what they've learned from the previous game by making improvements, and Miles and Kilo is a great example of a sequel done right.

Instead of just sticking with the excellent level resigned crafted around the game's mechanics (which are still present), they upped the ante by giving Miles and Kilo the ability to have full control in levels where you're just Miles. The Kilo levels are still auto-runs, but they mix it up between the levels at a pretty nice pace and variance to keep things fresh and not make the game too frustrating for those that don't enjoy endless runners.  As you progress through each level, you will fail, but it is a fair learning experience that you must overcome to conquer the level in one go.

Miles and Kilo was designed with speed run…

[Review] Garage - Nintendo Switch

As I've said before in previous reviews of Tiny Build games, it seems as though they are dong their best to leave a mark on the Nintendo Switch by providing a slew of original games in their wake, and Garage is no exception. On its surface, Garage appears to be a twin stick shooter with survival horror elements, but once you peel back the layers, it's a very serviceable old school overhead shooter more in the vein of Loaded or Grand Theft Auto with a much heavier influence from the survival horror genre than just a few elements.

To start off with, we have our story. You're a drug dealer that has found himself in the trunk of a car, and upon escaping you quickly discover that something has gone awry. As is usual in the survival horror genre, you're confronted with horrifyingly twisted and super aggressive mutants out for blood, and it's up to you to fight your way through the multilevel parking garage utilizing limited ammo and weapons while backtracking to find th…

[Review] Earthlock - Nintendo Switch

Earthlock is a Kickstarter-backed turn based RPG looking to draw it's primary inspiration from 32-bit Squaresoft RPGs. It started off with a rocky start when released on other consoles and PC, under the title Earthlock: Festival of Magic. It had dialog that didn't make much sense, some incomplete side quests, and a few other gaffes. As a pseudo- apology, developer Snowcastle Games made this definitive "should have been" edition to release fresh on the Switch, and to make it available, for free, to anyone that purchased and played the game for the other platforms. Did they succeed in making the game they should have to begin with?

In short, yes. While I can't speak much on how the original iteration of the game turned out, having never played it, I can definitely say that the latest, updated version now widely available seems to be the superior version. Everything seems to fit into a specific place, and it shines with polish. While I wouldn't go so far as to …

[Review] Punch Club - Nintendo Switch

Ever since tinyBuild announced their support of the Nintendo Switch, they've been bringing a lot of unique and original ideas to Nintendo fans that may not have taken the opportunity to play their games before, and Punch Club is another in the ever growing library that combines a few interesting elements into a satisfying experience.

Punch Club is, essentially, a life sim where you take on the role of an aspiring boxer. You have to talk to trainers, add new moves to your repertoire, exercise, eat, and find employment to earn an income to pay for all of it.

Initially, I wasn't quite sure what to think of the game, as I wrongfully assumed that I was going to be playing a boxing gym simulator. While it is partially that, having the focus on one specific boxer makes for a deeper experience. As I mentioned above, you have to eat, work, train, and of course, fight.  This entails traveling around the city, chatting up the right people, buying groceries, eating meals when you get too…

[Review] Milanoir - Nintendo Switch

Milanoir is a seventies inspired mafia shooters that leans heavily on the sights, sounds, and tropes of the era. While rendered in pixels, the sprite based art conveys grimey seventies crime movie incredibly well. Does that atmosphere hold up with the gameplay?

First of all, Milanoir has very heavy adult themes. As you could guess based on the title, it is based on crime movies, and takes place in seventies Milan, Italy. Instead of playing as a grizzled detective, as is usually the case in many noir- inspired games, you are a hitman for the mafia, and as such you'll be doing a lot of killing. While there are some more stealthy moments to be found, usually you'll be running or driving around mowing down rival organized crime types as you work your way through the story. Our game begins with a failed attempt on your life, and you pay back this attempt in kind by shooting the would be assassin and stealing his cool sunglasses. After that, you make your way back to your boss, who…

[Review] Happy Birthdays - Nintendo Switch

Happy Birthdays is an updated version of Birthdays, the Beginning, which released last year for PS4 and PC. In Happy Birthdays, you take on the role of a god. You stumble into a cave and find a strange cube and a little voice asking you for your help with creating life on this cube world. This is a strange request, but how often do you get the opportunity to play god?

Unfortunately, being a god isn't the most interesting thing in the many worlds, but it is oddly satisfying. Your primary objective is to take a newly birthed cube planet, and manipulate the weather, humidity, flora, and fauna using poorly explained controls and skills to foster the successful evolution of modern humans. You have a checklist of different species that you can choose to bring into reality beyond that, but they are completely optional. The initial tutorial doesn't do a great job of explaining how you play the game, but it also prompts you with relevant information as you play through the game.

The p…

Super preview roundup!

Inksplosion (Nintendo Switch)

Inksplosion is one of the more recent ports from Ratalaika games. It has found it's way from Steam over to the home consoles. I received a review copy of the game and so far I have only made it past the first three screens(levels? Fights?). As such, it's really difficult to write an honest review of the game. I can definitely provide my impression of the game, and that's kind of what this article is about.
Inksplosion is a twin stick shooter of sorts. Unfortunately, this isn't immediately evident from the start. In fact, nothing is obvious or intuitive about the game at all. I probably died at least half a dozen times before I realized which on screen sprite represented me(it's the skull from the icon, which seems all too obvious in hindsight), and another half a dozen before I was able to confirm which button was for shooting. Even after that it took me a few more tries before I was able to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, …

[Review] Sumer - Nintendo Switch

Sumer for Nintendo Switch has been out for a little while now, and I've put a lot of time into it between solo play against the crafty AI and various groups of players mostly made up by my children and their usually reluctant (at first) friends. Sometimes I would just sit back and watch them all duke it out for the favor of the Sumerian goddess, Inanna. You play as a nobleman in ancient Sumer, and the obiect is to send out your workers to gather resources which you will be using to pay tribute to the aforementioned goddess, with the ultimate goal of proving your worth as a suitor to rule the land at Inanna's side by paying the most tribute.

Sumer is touted as a board game come video game, and the two ideas go well together here. While most board games to video game conversions just show you a virtual version of the board and add in some music, sound effects and animations to spice things up a bit, here we find the ability to platform around the board itself. It's one part…

[Review] Saturday Morning RPG - Nintendo Switch

Saturday Morning RPG has come to the Nintendo Switch, and it has found a very welcome home for me. You see, when the game was getting it's firs physical release on the PlayStation Vita, I missed out on buying it from Limited Run Gamed, but ended up purchasing it through the store on PSN. It just looked like a fun game to play, and I wasn't going to deny myself the opportunity to play just because I missed out on the physical release. I started to play it shortly after finishing Ys Memories of Celceta as somewhat of a palate cleanser before moving on to the epic saga that was Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel. Unfortunately, this was all happening for me around the time that the Nintendo Switch was launching, and I ended up putting my Vita aside to enjoy my new toy.

Fast forward a little over a year, and it was announced that Saturday Morning RPG was coming to the Switch, and Josh from Limited Run Games was handing out review codes on Twitter. After being tagged in the twe…

[Review] Cast of the Seven Godsends - Nintendo Switch

Cast of the Seven Godsends is a truly retro inspired action platformer with a lot more emphasis placed on the action than the platforming. It often reminded me of Ghouls N' Ghosts, not the least because of its challenges level of difficulty. Thankfully, there are no underwear only indications of low health to be found.

The game totes itself as a return to classic arcade run and guns, but I associate that term more closely with Contra and Metal Slug. While there is plenty of running and shooting of projectiles across the various weapons, it is very much an homage to Ghouls N' Ghosts. Granted, the difficulty in Cast of the Seven Godsends isn't found in the routine enemies, but the bosses and minibosses scattered throughout the four worlds. Unfortunately, there is a similar difficulty found in the limited amount of hits that you can take before death. I also never really doing myself having too much fun.

The game offers little variety in the level design, and the bosses are …

[First Impressions] Earthlock - Nintendo Switch

This has actually been a long time coming. I first received my code for Earthlock a few days before release, and I immediately jumped right into it. Then I got buried under a ton of other codes for my site and others, particularly those that commanded all of my time and were on much tighter deadlines. I spent most of March and April beginning work on my YouTube channel and establishing myself as a freelance writer for a couple of new sites, and I wanted to show that I could play some games and get content out there in a timely manner. I've since spent a couple of play sessions pecking away at Earthlock, and really wanted to experience everything that it had to offer before diving deep into it. I have an upcoming video for my channel where I will briefly discuss the fascinating history behind this game and expand a little bit about what I've experienced so far.

Needless to say, Earthlock started off as a Kickstarter project that sought to capture the magic of PlayStation era 3d…

[Review] Deep Ones - Nintendo Switch

Deep Ones is a nails hard action platformer by Sometimes You recently released for the Nintendo Switch. It takes the interesting art style decision to be based upon old ZX Spectrum games. 

The basic premise is that you are a deep sea diver whose submarine has been destroyed by a red octopus, and you must make your way through its territory to recover your ship pieces and upgrades to power yourself up to make your going a little easier. The limited color palette against the black backdrop makes for good atmosphere and original graphics for a modern indie offering, but it really makes the game suffer because of the limited range of visibility.  Too often you will fall victim to leaps of faith that result in cheap pit deaths, and it is very difficult to gauge your distance from certain enemies to avoid their expansion or projectiles. Couple this with the muddy response from your inputs, and you find tourself torn between awe over the game making you feel like you're fighting against…

[Review] Devious Dungeon - Nintendo Switch

Devious Dungeon is the latest addition to the Nintendo Switch eShop library from Ratalaika Games. They've been known for their very prolific contributions to the ever-expanding library of quality of indie games for the platform, and Devious Dungeon is a fun 2D, pixel art rogue-like platforming dungeon crawler with light RPG elements.

In Devious Dungeon, you will fight your way through randomly generated levels, smashing stuff for coins, killing monsters for experience and coins, all the while trying to find the key that unlocks the portal to the next dungeon. After collecting enough experience, you will level up, and be given the choice between increasing one of three stats- strength for damage, dexterity for critical hits, and vitality for HP. Every three levels, and in between failures, you'll be given the option to use your coin to buy better weapons, armor, and accessories. Each of these is an incremental improvement over your last piece of gear, and to unlock the next mo…

[Review] The Long Reach - Nintendo Switch

The Long Reach for Nintendo Switch is a 2D, point and click adventure horror game with loads of atmosphere, but some frustrating quirks.

We are introduced into a world where a research project has gone horribly awry, and awaken as an amnesiac guinea pig that quickly discovers the horrors that have commenced while unconscious. This sentence could have been written to introduce a great many number of horror games, but outside of this very familiar premise, The Long Reach strays more towards building an atmosphere of unease and sanity-doubting occurrences than relying on cheap jump scares. There is still blood, bodies, and a homicidal maniac on the run, but The Long Reach leans much more heavily on finding items that you will need to solve the game's puzzles.
To avoid spoilers, I'll only be talking about one of the first pseudo-puzzles that you'll run across, and how the game's quirks play into that.
In your first encounter with the psycopathic maniac, you will need to r…

Weekly Roundup - April 8th, 2018

Time for another weekly round up and update. I've been busy planning new content for the YouTube channel (Soda's Fountain Arcade), including accessory reviews, my thoughts and hopes for Smash Bros. For Nintendo Switch, a first impressions vid, and a channel introduction video. I just recorded a guest spot on a podcast, and have joined The Gaming Boulevard to write reviews. 
Lode Runner Legacy at Gaming Boulevard Castle of Heart at The Switch Effect Hollow Metropolis Lux Obscura Tesla vs. Lovecraft

[Review] Hollow - Nintendo Switch

Hollow for Nintendo Switch is first person survival horror title with too much horror in the wrong aspects, and not enough where it counts. While it is understandable that some sacrifices had to be made to make the game playable on the Nintendo Switch's somewhat limited hardware when compared to the PC release, this doesn't go very far when you consider how well companies have done on the Nintendo Switch with more demanding games and richer storylines. This actually ended up being a bit of a painful experience for me because it has been one of my most anticipated games for the platform since it was announced, and I even considered that I might be a little more harsh based on that disappointment, but many of my complaints have been echoed elsewhere.

To start off, Hollow throws us into the world of Shakhter-One, a mining vessel that you're on for forgotten reasons with a protagonist that isn't very relatable. You board the ship and discover that it is apparently abandon…