Showing posts from January, 2018

Shu (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Shu is an adorable platformer with cute visuals and ambient music that hits all the right notes- especially when you trigger those scales by collecting GPS butterflies.

While Shu has beautiful modern graphics and a lush landscape to traverse, it is a loving homage to the old school platformers that we all grew up with and loved. Developer Coatsink eschews the popular Metroidvania formula that many other throwback platformers utilize, and instead goes for an endearing mix of classic Sonic games and Rayman. The paths are linear, but there are still a half dozen collectibles to be found scattered throughout the levels. Finding these does require some deviations from the course, but does so in a circuitous manner that often leads right back to the intended path.

The emphasis in Shu is definitely on the stupendous level design, which are littered with checkpoints to help assuage the well balanced platforming puzzles. They can sometimes be a bit challenging, but are easily overcome by repe…

World to the West (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

World to the West is Rain Games' standalone follow-up to Teslagrad. Taking place in the same world, and a similar character design, they borrowed some of the puzzle platformer elements and integrated them into an engaging and beautiful 3D adventure game that calls to mind old school Legend of Zelda games in a delightful way.

The art style, as is always with Rain Games, is gorgeous. Moving away from the bleak landscape of Teslagrad's depressing dystopia, World to the West is full of beautiful pastels and soft lighting that really sets the mood for this pleasant trip through an idyllic world which hides some darker themes.

You play as four different protagonists, each of which starts off on their own journey.
We start the game in control of Lumina, a Teslamancer that harnesses control over electricity.  Her basic attacks and abilities are as follows. Each character has unlockable skills that I won't divulge here to avoid spoilers, so I won't mention them below.
B to swi…

Baseball Riot (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Baseball Riot is a physics based puzzler released by 10tons. It is the sequel to Tennis in the Face, and the story is just as ludicrous. You play as Gabe Carpaccio, who is upset over the fact that his former team has been sponsored by the corrupt energy drink corporation Explodz, so he is out for bruises.

With 10tons rapid release schedule for the Nintendo Switch to get all of their games ported over before releasing their upcoming new title Tesla vs. Lovecraft, we get the odd situation in which many of us, myself included, are playing the sequel to a game released less than six weeks from it's predecessor. With that in mind, how does the sequel stack up against the original? Do we have a home run, or a strike out?

Whenever a company releases a sequel, we as fans expect them to have taken what we appreciated about the first game, and to add on mechanics and features that improve upon the original. Baseball Riot knocks it out of the park in this regard, as they bring back the absu…

Energy Balance (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Energy Balance is a puzzle game based on mathematical cross-equations with a light narrative that plays out in between puzzles.

Your spaceship gets caught up in some kind of previously unknown anomaly that shuts down your engines. To get them back online, you must rearrange tiles with positive and negative integers that add up to the number specified at the end of each column or row. Just like in sodoku, each tile  can affect the row and column that it is placed into, so it also becomes a test of your deductive reasoning skills.

Energy Balance eases you into the mechanics of the game by making the first few puzzles relatively easy. There are only one or two overlapping row- column combinations, so it is a bit more forgiving while you find your footing. At the start of the game, and in between puzzles, there is some dialog between the captain of the ship and it's cat. These interludes add a bit of personality to the logic problems, and give you a short mental break from staring at…

Steamworld Heist: Ultimate Edition (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Steamworld Heist: Ultimate Edition is the first "port" to the Nintendo Switch by Image & Form Games. This sidescrolling turn based strategy shooter game was originally released on 3DS(where I initially played it), and later ported to every other platform imaginable. It finds a good home on the Switch, and is the second release on the console from the developer after last year's phenomenal Steamworld Dig 2, which really kicked me into high gear reviewing nindies on this very site.

In Steamworld Heist: Ultimate Edition, you play as steambot Captain Piper Faraday, a smuggler and sometimes pirate. You go across a steampunk galaxy recruiting steambots to aid you on your mission to loot enemy spaceships, primarily those controlled by the vile pirate steambot Scrappers, whom you are also trying to get under wraps. All of these steambots have their own charm and class with a specific skillset that will assist you on this quest.

Mission objectives range from the basic "…

Azkend 2: The World Beneath (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Azkend 2: The World Beneath is an interesting take on the match three puzzle genre that incorporates story and hidden object elements. With it being said that this is a match three puzzle game, we can now move on to what makes Azkend 2: The World Beneath stand out from all of the rest.

First of all, Azkend 2 brings a refreshing take on a puzzle game by having a storybook like narrative. Taking place in the nineteenth century, you and your party set sail across the Atlantic Ocean from Liverpool, bound for New York. On your travels, you encounter a gigantic storm that takes your ship to an unknown land. You are then tasked with completing puzzles in a time limit. Each puzzle rewards you with a piece of the item that you are looking for that will assist you in your journey. Once you complete all of the match three puzzles in a chapter, that object acts as a new special tile with it's own unique ability. You will also be met with the occasional hidden object bonus level to help you p…

The Next Penelope: Race to Odysseus (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

The Next Penelope: Race to Odysseus is a racing game with battle elements. You play as Penelope, searching a futuristic universe for Ulysses. The game starts off with a few tutorial levels that teach you the controls for turning, boosting, and firing your weapons.

You will traverse your way across the universe tracking down your lost love, racing and fighting bosses along the way. There are various upgrades available for your ship, and the game is dripping with style. Neon abounds, and adrenaline pumping music gets you hyped up for the races at hand.

The developer paid extra attention to the integration of HD Rumble, but that's where most of the game's plusses end. The races start to feel the same pretty early on, and having an open galaxy map to explore in whichever route you choose doesn't do enough to break this up. The bosses offer a suitable challenge, but it often starts to feel cheap when you fail repeatedly, no matter how familiar you become with the controls and …

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is actually the sequel to Max & The Magic Marker, which was a Wiiware puzzle platformer that was eventually ported to PC, Mac, PSN, and the DS. In that game, Max draws a monster to life with his magic marker, and then must use that same magic marker to draw platforms and overcome obstacles on a quest to defeat that monster.

With Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, we find Max annoyed with his little brother, Felix, whom is playing rough with Max's toys. Max looks up a spell online to get rid of his little sibling, and when he recites it out loud, a portal opens and a giant furry hand emerges and takes Felix. Knowing that this won't end well for him, Max jumps into the portal on a rescue mission.

After what amounts to a tutorial teaching us the basics of the game, we find ourselves being chased by the aforementioned furry monster. Upon escaping this, we meet up with a strange little magical person that inform us that Felix has been taken to a far o…

The Coma: Recut (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

The Coma: Recut is a sidescrolling survival horror adventure game that places you in the role of Youngho, a student undertaking his final exams at Sehwa High School. We start the game off with a small explanation of how exams are hell week for Korean students, and soon learn that one of the students has apparently attempted suicide due to the stress over doing well on these exams. We meet the new girl at school and make an awkward attempt at flirting, and after a brief encounter with the school bully, we quickly make our way to homeroom for our first exam. Here we meet Ms. Song, the resident hot teacher that Youngho has a crush on, and she asks us to meet her after class. Youngho than falls asleep during the exam, and wakes up in a darkened classroom. Youngho just figures that he crashed out during the exam and slept until night time. Upon leaving the classroom, we run into Ms. Song, or at least someone or something that looks like her.

She acts very strangely, but when she asks Youn…

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is a top down, overhead action adventure game that plays out just like the original Legend of Zelda. It blatantly wears it's "Zelda clone" badge on it's sleeve, and there's nothing at all wrong with that. It even starts off with a reference to the venerable series, which leads me to my next poorly written segue. 

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is a blatant Zelda clone, yes, but it differentiates itself with it's unique story, and narrative structure. A grandfather is telling his grandchildren a bedtime story, and he asks if they've heard the one about the brave elf- boy from the kingdom of H--, where he is cutoff and asked for a new story, since they've heard it a million times before. In the place of our beloved hero of Hyrule, he decides to tell the children about Princess Blossom, whom is on her way to being knighted by her father, the king, and beginning her duties.  Her first task is the all too familiar trope …

Mom Hid My Game! (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Mom Hid My Game! Is a simple puzzle game with a unique art style. I find myself saying that a lot about indie games, but this has to be the first game that I've seen that has mimicked child's book and airplane safety manual style so very well to great effect.

The premise is simple, your mother has hidden your portable game console somewhere in the house, and you must not only find it, but also figure out which tools lying around the house you need to utilize to get to it. In addition, you must not find your mom while in search, or else you'll be busted and have to perform that day's puzzle over.

The puzzles are fun, and clever, but very simple. It usually doesn't take much thought beyond a basic assessment of how to use the objects available in your environment to get to your game console, but it's a fun trip everyday regardless. I have a feeling that was because this $4.99 budget title was designed with children in mind as it's primary audience. While I d…

Frederic: Resurrection of Music

Frederic: Resurrection of Music is a budget rhythm game that puts you in the shoes of recently resurrected composer Frederic Chopin. You are tasked with traveling the world to engage representatives from various genres of pop music in an effort to restore creativity and soul to a world of corporate produced music.

While the game has both docked and undocked modes that utilize both button presses (that can also be used for undocked mode), and touchscreen controls, the game tells you from the very beginning that it is intended as a touchscreen game. You use your fingers to hit the appropriate piano keys in time with the music, and are awarded with special moves as you go.

The game presents a fair challenge in both modes, but it is highly recommend that you start off on easy mode and using touchscreen controls until you become familiar with this particular game's ins and outs. You will have off against various generic pop stars across a wide variety of genres, and are treated to som…

Sparkle Unleashed (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Sparkle Unleashed is the follow up to 10tons' Sparkle 2. They're both match three marble-shooter puzzle games that rely on working your way through a map, earning experience as you go to be used to acquire power-ups that enhance your gaming experience.

While Sparkle 2 follows the Zuma formula a little more closely by placing the marble shooter on a round pivot in the middle of the screen, Sparkle Unleashed switches things up by placing the marble shooter on a track that moves left and right across the bottom of the screen and always faces up.

This leads to more challenging gameplay, in my opinion, and so is for those times when you want a bit more depth and variety to your puzzle gaming experience.

Sparkle Unleashed uses many of the same assets as Sparkle 2, but provides a few more whimsical tracks to groove to while you're playing. Unfortunately, these tracks still don't seem long enough, and repeat frequently, which can be a little bothersome during extended play se…