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Ladies Night Reviews

On 06/01/2020 at 04:07 AM by Cary Woodham

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Sometimes when I make a list of reviews I’ve written lately for these blogs, I notice they have a theme.  This time I noticed that nearly all the games I’ve reviewed lately have strong female lead roles.  We have Blaze Fielding, Cherry, and Estel Aguirre from Streets of Rage 4, Tifa from the FF7 Remake, Demelza and Nessa from Knights and Bikes, Tanya and Olga from Infinite: Beyond the Mind, and many more!  So please click on the links and read as many reviews as you can, and maybe post a like or comment or two.  And in the comments section here, tell me your favorite female video game characters.  Can you guess mine?

Streets of Rage 4 (PS4)

In the 16-bit era when I was a kid (well, a teen), I only had a Super Nintendo.  Back then, kids didn’t usually have both a SNES and a SEGA Genesis, you had one or the other.  So there were a lot of Genesis games I missed out on.  Most of the time I was OK with that, as the SNES offered more games for my tastes.  But there were a few times when a Genesis game caught my eye, and ones I didn’t even know about altogether!  The Streets of Rage series was one of those games.  I didn’t discover them until I played the second one on one of those early SEGA Genesis classic collections.  But once I did play it, I was blown away by the graphics, gameplay, and especially the music.  The secret to its success was that it was developed from the ground up to be best on a console, not like the other beat ‘em ups out there that were originally arcade quarter munchers.  After three games, the Streets of Rage series only stayed on the Genesis, until now.  FINALLY we get a sequel with Streets of Rage 4).  Does it live up to the legacy?  You’ll just have to read on to find out!

Spoiler Alert!  Yeah, it’s very good.  Probably one of the best games I’ve played this year, aside from Animal Crossing.  Is it as good as Streets of Rage 2?  Maybe not quite, but that’s a tall order since Streets of Rage 2 is probably one of the best games on the Genesis.  But this one is darn near close to being as good.  I also think it’s cool that I got to review a pretty popular game.  Normally I just review the under the radar type stuff, which I’m usually fine with.  But it is cool to review a bigger name game like this every now and then.  My favorite character to play as is Blaze Fielding, but I also like one of the bosses, a strong police woman named Estel. 

Knights and Bikes (Switch)

One of the things that I like about reviewing games is the opportunity to try out titles I otherwise might have missed.  Such is the case with Knights and Bikes.  It actually came out last year but I didn’t know about it, or else it just slipped under the cracks for me.  But I got a second chance to take a stab at reviewing it, so here we go!  Anyway, Knights and Bikes is set on the fictitious Penfurzy British island in the mid 1980s.  A girl named Demelza lives there with her dad, who owns a trailer park and mini golf course.  Demelza has her head in the clouds and likes to use her imagination a lot, as kids tend to do.  Recently, Demelza’s mother passed away and she’s been taking it pretty hard, and now they can’t afford to keep their land.  One day, a homeless runaway girl named Nessa sneaks onto a ferry going to Penfurzy Island (don’t worry, the game isn’t as depressing as it sounds).  Nessa is a bit more down to earth, and she and Demelza run into each other and become fast friends. Along with their pet goose Honkers, they set off on a treasure-hunting, bike riding adventure to save the island.  Knights and Bikes is a 2-D co-op action adventure game for 1 or 2 players.  This game does a great job of recapturing what it’s like to be a kid, and it has that same Psychonauts style feel and charm.  It was published by Double Fine, too, so that may explain some things.  Anyway, despite its problems, it’s a very heartwarming and charming title, so I encourage you to check out this review if you can.

Reader Review: Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

Before I start with this review that one of my brothers wrote, I thought I’d give a bit of an intro.  It may be hard to believe now, but back when I was a teen in the 16-bit days, I was super big into RPGs, especially the Final Fantasy games.  So when I was in college and got the PlayStation, I was super excited for FF7.  But after I played it, I appreciated its differences, but I didn’t have a desire to play it again.  And it was a turning point in the series for me because from then on, aside from some spinoffs and such, I had no interest in Final Fantasy after that.  Well, except for Final Fantasy 9.  That was what 7 and 8 should’ve been.  So yeah, I didn’t have any interest in the Final Fantasy VII Remake.  Luckily one of my brothers, Nathan, volunteered to review it.  Now keep in mind that Nathan had never played the original FF7.  In fact I think he was just a toddler when the original came out!  But that’s exactly why you should read this review because it’s written by someone who never played the original and I’m sure it’ll offer a unique take on the game.  So here is Nathan Woodham’s review of the Final Fantasy VII Remake! So who are your favorite FF7 characters?  Can you guess mine?  I’ll give you a hint, I have three favorites, but only one of them is human.

Gals Fighters (Switch)

I already wrote a blog about this game, but here’s my review again if you missed it.  It was originally a NEO GEO Pocket Color game, and they ported it to the Switch.  I hope they port more NGPC games to the Switch, as I really liked that handheld. 

Infinite: Beyond the Mind (PS4)

Two women, Tanya and Olga, share a bond that gives them magical powers, but an evil queen separates them so their powers are weaker.  Now it’s up to the one woman who didn’t get captured to rescue the other one and overthrow the tyrannical queen and her vast army in this 2-D retro styled hack and slash platformer.  It reminds me of a souped up Rush’N Attack/Green Beret.  I like picking the second character because she’s a pink haired lady in a white dress, and it such a staunch contrast to the military dudes you have to fight.  Only problem is this game gets way too hard.

StarCrossed (Switch)

In a distant galaxy, a magical artifact called the Harmony Star brings worlds together.  But at a celebration revolving around the star, it gets stolen and five nearby characters are chosen to receive special powers so they can get the star back.  The five heroes include a pop idol, a fanboy, a princess, a buff outlaw woman, and an android.  They get the power to fly in space and bounce back a star between one another to destroy bad guys.  This unique arcade style ‘shooter’ combines elements from games like Pong, as well as obscure Japan only titles like the twin stick game Libble Rabble.  You may not have heard of that one, but it was created by the same guy who made Pac-Man, so it’s worth looking up.  Anyway, my favorite character in it is the outlaw woman, for…reasons.

Moving Out (Switch)

Moving to a new house can be a stressful time, but one way to cut down on that stress (maybe) is to hire a moving company to load your furniture onto a truck and move it for you.  And now you can play a game where you do just that in Moving Out.  This humorous multiplayer co-op game reminds me of another I reviewed a while back called Tools Up, but this one’s much better.  It does get a bit repetitive since all you do is go back and forth from your truck to the houses carrying boxes and furniture.  Anyway the way this game got my attention was that at PAX, they had inflatable moving boxes with the Moving Out logo at their booth.  I saw those and thought, “why couldn’t they use real cardboard boxes instead?”  But I guess it was the inflatable ones that got my attention, so I guess they did their job!

A Fold Apart (Switch)

A couple in a relationship are about to be presented with a challenge.  When one of them takes a job in a different city, they must deal with having a long-distance relationship and the difficulties that ensue with that.  You’re along in this tumultuous ride in this puzzler game.  You must get one of the people in this relationship from point A to point B, and everything is presented on pieces of paper.  You have the power to fold the paper to provide platforms and useful passages to help bring the couple together in A Fold Apart.  Aside from being too short, I don’t think this game really needed such a somber story to tie it together.  I’d be just as happy if you were just a little notebook doodle trying to get from point A to point B on a sheet of origami paper.  Sometimes less is more.

And that’s all for now!  I really appreciate all of you reading my reviews and posting comments and ‘likes’ and such.  Thanks so much for that.  Later!  --Cary



Matt Snee Staff Writer

06/01/2020 at 09:24 PM

I respect your respect for strong women. I feel the same way. Did you play River City Girls?

Cary Woodham

06/01/2020 at 09:36 PM

Yeah, strong women are my weakness. :)  I guess I have a thing for them.  Nothing wrong with that I suppose.  I do have River City Girls.  It's really good, but awfully hard!  Thanks for reading!


06/02/2020 at 08:27 PM

I hope to play Streets of Rage 4 at some point but I'm in no rush. StarCrossed sounds cool! I've heard good things about Moving Out. Kind of like a differently themed Overcooked.

Cary Woodham

06/03/2020 at 09:49 AM

Yeah Moving Out is like a simpler Overcooked.  Both games were published by the same company, too!


06/03/2020 at 12:37 PM

I still need to try Streets of Rage 4. I was a huge fan of the Game Gear version, and to scratch that itch later on I played the homebrew version on the Dreamcast, Beats of Rage. If you say it's good, it has to be something that I should add to my Steam Library.

Cary Woodham

06/04/2020 at 08:27 PM

I never played the Game Gear Streets of Rage!


06/03/2020 at 02:47 PM

I will probably download SoR4 at some point. I liked River City Girls, which I've always said was the closest we ever got to having a Project A-Ko video game, that being one of my favorite anime movies. 

I had the opposite reaction to FF7. I got FF6 on SNES and really enjoyed it, and one of the things about the N64 that disappointed me the most was the complete lack of RPGs on it, and almost all of the ones that were announced for it getting cancelled.

FF7 simply blew me away in a way that no game had ever done before, except maybe the original Zelda and A Link to the Past. I loved the non-medieval, modern industrial/corporate setting and the designs for the characters and the environments. It was a breath of fresh-air from the ad-nauseam Tolkien tropes most of the RPGs I'd played up that point sported. I bought a ton of RPGs for the PS1: SaGa Frontier, Parasite Eve, Xenogears, Breath of Fire, Lunar 1 and 2, and of course all the other Final Fantasy games they put out, but FF7 still stands out to me.  

Now, the Switch is an RPG-lovers paradise. I've got so many RPGs on Switch that it isn't even funny. Heck, I even have all three of the PS1 Final Fantasy games. And Dragon Quest XI is amazing. 

Speaking of Gals Fighters, did you ever play SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy?

Cary Woodham

06/04/2020 at 08:33 PM

I do have respect for FF7.  It tried a lot of new things and the presentation was years ahead of its time.  And I did play it all the way through.  I just liked FF6 so much more and the differences I didn't like about FF7 were what they focused on in later games, so I become more and more disinterested in FF games after that.  Except for FF9.  And Brave Fencer Musashi was a happy surprise on PSOne.  And right now I'm playing the remake of Trials of Mana and am enjoying that.  Although now I'm reviewing Shantae and the Seven Sirens so that one is taking a backseat for a while.  I wonder if you can guess who my favorite Trials of Mana character is?

I do have that SNK Heroines game.  I didn't write about it, though, because while Gals Fighters was silly, SNK Heroines focused more on fan service.  I mean, poor Leona is forced to wear a cat bikini suit, and she doesn't seem too happy about that.  I guess if enough people want me to, I guess I can write about SNK Heroines, too.


06/04/2020 at 09:04 PM

I haven't picked up the Trials of Mana remake yet. I still want to get Xenoblade Chronicles Remastered and The Outer Worlds. Too many games, man. 

I actually skipped out on SNK Heroines for the same reason - very fanservicey - and I used to play a lot of DoA 4 when I had a 360. I did get Samurai Shodown, though, and that game is really good.

Cary Woodham

06/06/2020 at 09:40 AM

Have you played through Trials of Mana on the Collection of Mana yet?  I got to the last boss and couldn't defeat it, even after a week of grinding, so I said screw it and watched the ending on YouTube and started the Trials of Mana remake.

I will skip out on Xenoblade.

I reviewed one of the Dead or Alive games and if you can get past the fanservice, it's a good fighter.  Now the DOA Volleyball games?  Now those are bad.

I tried to get a review copy of the new Samurai Shodown game, but I wasn't able to.  Is Poppy the dog in it?


06/03/2020 at 09:13 PM

I want to play Knights and Bikes but it's not on Xbox? Didn't Microsoft just buy Double Fine? What is up with that. 

Cary Woodham

06/04/2020 at 08:35 PM

Well, maybe Knights and Bikes was being made before Microsoft purchased Double Fine, so they went ahead and released it on other systems.  When I asked them at PAX if they were sitll going to release Psychonauts 2 on other systems, they said yes for the same reasons, so maybe that's it.

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