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Reviews

Shio Review

O masocore games, how I love thee.

There’s an itch that super challenging platformers scratch for me that other games just can't. While it’s always nice to dig into a classic platformer like Mario or something a bit more unique like Rayman, getting my fix of games like Super Meat Boy and N++ is a necessity. Shio fits very nicely into that niche and offers a decent chunk of gameplay, a unique hook that differentiates it from the crowd, and healthy offering of secrets to extend the experience.

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Freedom Planet Review

The... purple... blur?

The genesis of Freedom Planet is quite evident from the moment the game begins. Though you play the part of a purple dragon, it’s clear it could’ve just as easily been a blue hedgehog. However, there are a few changes to the classic Sonic formula that sets Freedom Planet apart as its own unique experience that merely wears its influence on its sleeve. The end result is a well constructed, fast-paced platformer that entertains from beginning to end.

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Pool Panic Review

It's weird, but I'm not sure it's all that fun.

Anyone familiar with the typical programming of Adult Swim, won’t be the least bit surprised by their latest published video game, Pool Panic. It has the aesthetic of many of their shows, the offbeat humor, and preserves the general oddity of their late night flavor. It proclaims to be the least realistic pool simulator ever, and it’s not an inaccurate description. Pool Panic is actually a puzzle game dressed up as a pool game, using the basic premise of billiards as the foundation of the experience.

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Yakuza Kiwami 2 Review

You haven't lived until you've tag teamed a mugger with a dominatrix.

I consider myself a plugged in gamer.  I take it as a matter of professional pride to keep tabs on all manner of games, even if I’m not personally interested in them.  So imagine my surprise to learn that I’ve spent the last twelve years thinking the Yakuza series was just a low budget version of Grand Theft Auto, only to find out it’s actually a super deep roleplaying game.  This was a pleasant surprise as I worked my way through Yakuza Kiwami 2, my first true foray into the franchise.

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Mega Man X Legacy Collection Review

And the best Mega Man X game is...

Part of being a gamer is picking your favorite Mega Man subseries and diving in. Some enjoy the simplicity of the classic series. Others want the story and exploration from the Legends series. Personally, I like the X series. Something about vanilla Mega Man never clicked with me, with X giving me just enough complexity without deviating from what makes the series work. Despite my love for Mega Man X, I never tried its sequels, so I was excited to see what they added to the formula.

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Iconoclasts Review

What do ivory, supernatural abilities, and religious zealots have in common?

I’ll start by saying that I’m in awe of Iconoclasts. It’s the culmination of nearly eight years of solo work by Joakim Sandberg. As someone who has built a much simpler game from scratch on my own, I can assure you this was no easy feat, and for such a complex and beautiful game it’s really a stunning achievement. The world, the art, the music, and the gameplay are all phenomenal. Traversing the world, solving puzzles, exploring the locales, and defeating bosses is consistently entertaining. I have some reservations with the story and the, at times, cringey dialog. The story does prove to be quite memorable in the end, but for much of Iconoclasts, I found myself lost in it, focused solely on the gameplay.

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Code of Princess EX Review

I probably liked this a little less than Angelo.

For those familiar with the 3DS release, originally published by Atlus, Code of Princess EX is a technically and visually upgraded version of the game. Outside of the nicer coat of paint and a crisp 60 frames per second, a variety of other changes were made that have a fairly significant impact on the progression of the main quest. Regardless of the evident love poured into this HD upgrade, Code of Princess EX can be a bit of a slog that will likely only appeal to the most dedicated of brawler fans.

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20XX Review

Just one more level...

20XX, despite being thoroughly inspired by Mega Man X, manages to distinguish itself by throwing away a good portion of that formula for something much more chaotic. The team at Batterystaple Games has managed to recreate the feel of Mega Man X, in both its control and enemy design, but mashes it into a roguelike design that includes randomly generated levels and temporal upgrades that are gained and constrained to your given run through the game. Each pass you’ll encounter different power ups, approach bosses in a different order and apply different approaches to make your way through. Level and boss design, as well as their relative challenge, will even vary based on how deep into a run you are. Progress can be slow, but somewhere along the way, 20XX will get its hooks into you and you’ll be unable to resist the pull of taking on another level or starting up a new run in an effort to make it to the end.

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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

N. Sanely beautiful.

Back when Crash Bandicoot hit the scene, I was a firmly entrenched Nintendo fanboy. Crash, to me, was a second rate 3D platformer that was put to utter shame by the fantastic platformer offerings of the N64. I’ll admit, the N. Sane Trilogy has done little to elevate the core material for me, but it does leave me wishing that other companies would show as much love and care to their older 3D games as Vicarious Visions has shown here.

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Assault Gunners HD Edition Review

Maybe just wait for Daemon X Machina.

I wouldn’t classify myself as any sort of mech game aficionado, I’ve only played a handful of them over the years, but it’s a weird subgenre that I find myself drawn to. That odd pull, coupled with my infatuation with the Switch, made Assault Gunners HD Edition a prime candidate for play. The budget mech experience isn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it does have a surprisingly deep customization system that significantly outclasses the rudimentary gameplay. Though fun at times, Assault Gunners HD Edition is more often a frustrating slog, that doesn’t really scratch the mech game itch in a satisfying way.

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