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Eliwood8

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About Eliwood8

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  1. Original estimate was for my copy of the game to arrive later this week, but it just came so I guess it's Reyn time.
  2. The idea of combining Picross puzzles with another gameplay genre seems so obvious now that I'm surprised there aren't more examples of it. Organizing the satisfying repetition of solving nonogram puzzles into a 2D exploration adventure adds a nice touch of personality and pizazz to the experience, and in the case of Piczle Cross Adventure from developer Score Studios and publisher Plug In Digital, a good deal of humor as well. Make no mistake though, this is still first and foremost a puzzle game, and a perfect one for fans of Picross. Piczle Cross Adventure stars Score-chan and her animal(?) companion Gig as they solve one puzzle after another to rescue the world from being pixelated by Dr. Mona Chromatic as she attempts to turn the entire world into black and white pixels. It's a charming, goofy premise and as you might expect the game doesn't take itself too seriously. This is a light, bubbly adventure story that is oftentimes keenly self-aware of video game tropes. Even if it's not too deep, the writing is fun, and it's hard not to smile at the quirky humor. Plus, for Picross game fans, it's a nice change of pace to contextualize the puzzle-solving process into a story with an actual goal. Even given the genre mash-up of Piczle Cross Adventure, the core gameplay is still very much a Picross or nonogram puzzle game. You'll explore the map to find objects that have been pixelated, and then solve a puzzle to restore it to its glorious full color form. For those that don't know, Picross is a portmanteau of "picture" and "crossword," which succinctly describes what these puzzles are: by following clues on a grid (like a crossword puzzle) you create a picture. These can range from fairly simple 5x5 grids to much bigger, more complex challenges. Seasoned Picross players will find that Piczle Cross Adventure is rarely mind-bendingly challenging, but it's also nice to enjoy a puzzle game with a comfortable pace of progression. And novice players may enjoy using helpful features like the hint roulette, at least while learning the ropes of this puzzle format. Unlike most other Picross games, you're not just given a long list of puzzles to solve, you have to go out and find them. For the most part this means just exploring the environment—ranging from dark caves to sprawling deserts, all conveniently within walking distance—but Piczle Cross Adventure also takes a page from traditional adventure games. Sometimes you'll need to find an item to progress, such as finding a way to move a fallen tree blocking your path. The game doesn't throw anything too complex at you but just having a reason to explore and find items is a nice change of pace for a puzzle game. There's also a small amount of freedom as you can tackle regions in slightly different orders (until you run into an obstacle that you need a specific item for) and it's cool to have the opportunity to tackle puzzles in whatever order you like. Plus it is awfully satisfying to enter a new area of the map, see all of the blank, pixelated spots in the environment, and then restore the area piece by piece. If there's one area the gameplay feels slightly lacking, it's in one small aspect of the controls. You actually have a great deal of customization options with the controls, which is great, but one feature I was missing compared to other Picross games is a "maybe" option to fill in squares when you're not sure if a square should be filled in or not but you want to make a note of where it might be. It is perhaps slightly unfair to compare Piczle Cross Adventure's features directly to other Picross games, but it's a valuable feature for puzzle-solving and it's a shame it isn't available here as well. Like any puzzle game your time with Piczle Cross Adventure can vary quite a bit depending on how quick you are at solving nonograms, but you can expect at least ten hours or so. There are also a few optional objectives that aren't needed to complete the story, but are great for completionists. You don't need to finish every puzzle to complete the story (although there are some checkpoints where you need a minimum experience level to progress, so you do still have to finish most puzzles to progress). It's hard to imagine playing a Picross game and not hunting down every puzzle available though, and you'll likely end up addicted enough to explore every puzzle the game has to offer. Piczle Cross Adventure leans hard into the retro look with not just an old-school pixel look but even CRT scan lines (these can be turned off if you're not feeling the retro vibe though). The visual design is cartoony and cute, and honestly having even a bit of visual flair in a Picross puzzle game is a welcome change of pace. The soundtrack is pretty catchy, but also a bit too repetitive. A bit more variety in background tunes, especially given the wide variety of environments, would have helped shake things up a bit. Piczle Cross Adventure offers a fun, fresh twist on the typical puzzle game format without actually changing the familiar puzzle gameplay. A cute story and simple adventure game elements provide a charming frame for puzzle-hunting and puzzle-solving, one that gives you a bit more incentive to keep playing. For Picross fans, this is another great selection of nonograms, while new players will appreciate having a story/adventure to focus on while completing puzzles. Rating: 8 out of 10 Puzzles Review copy provided by developer Piczle Cross Adventure is available now on the Switch eShop for $9.99.
  3. Wholesome Games put together their own video showcase of upcoming cute, friendly, or compassionate games from indie developers. Looks like some of these are coming to the Switch but most seem to be PC. Still, it's a good opportunity to find some indie games to keep an eye on over the next year.
  4. I really need to get around to playing the copy of XCOM 2 I have for my PS4. I can't imagine the Bioshock games will run as well on the Switch as on any other platform, but if it's your only option they're some of the best games to come out of the last generation and are absolutely worth playing. Borderlands is also a blast and a great time sink. As far as time sinks are concerned though, my next super long game project will be Xenoblade Chronicles. Looking forward to exploring that world again.
  5. - Wandersong (Switch) Very cute game, glad I finally got around to playing it. Perfect for a light, uplifting little adventure game. - Bioshock 2 (PS4) I can understand why some people were underwhelmed by 2 since it really is quite similar to 1, but it also made some valuable quality of life improvements to the combat and hacking mechanics. Besides, Rapture is still a blast to explore. Also played Minerva's Den for the first time which was a great side story. - River City Girls (Switch) The game nails the classic beat 'em up experience, but I found myself wanting more from the game than a retread of familiar genre beats. Still fun, but not as engaging as I'd hoped. - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) The game is, of course, a masterpiece, and the perfect distraction to lose oneself in these days. Master Mode though, eh, I didn't really love it. Really the problem was the regenerating health, which sort of requires you to fight more aggressively and makes fun, silly tactics like dropping boulders or shooting exploding barrels much less effective. Mostly it made me just want to avoid combat which is kind of a shame since normally it's pretty fun to sweep through a bokoblin encampment and destroy everything. It definitely makes the early game more intense though, and of course the Trial of the Sword—hoo boy, that took a couple of years off my life from stress. - Bioshock Infinite (PS4) Rounding out the Bioshock trilogy. God this game is beautiful, and I love the soundtrack, especially examining each song's thematic connection to the story. For some reason I enjoy using the Vigors more in this game compared to Plasmids in previous games—I think it helps that you don't have to buy them, so it doesn't feel like needlessly spending ADAM, but also since you're limited to two guns at a time it makes more sense to rely on Vigors more. Console: 50 Overall: 50
  6. Back to the original topic: if there were a new Hunters game I wouldn't mind seeing it lean more toward a team-based, abilities-driven multiplayer experience, a la Overwatch, Paladins, Apex Legends, etc. rather than a straight up shooter like Call of Duty. I think these days I'm much more interested in an FPS that gives different experiences with each character rather than just changing what gun you're using. And the original Hunters was already a little like that, and they could push the idea further. I'm also always interested in co-op game modes in shooters, so I'd definitely be down for a Metroid II-style "eradicate the Metroids" game mode. I could also be interested in something like an asymmetrical mode, like one player is Samus and four or five other players are hunters, and they have to work together to take down Samus who is significantly stronger or can respawn or something.
  7. It would probably surprise most Western gamers to learn just how expansive and long-lived the Kunio-Kun series is—it certainly surprised me. Over thirty years of history and dozens upon dozens of games—though, granted, most being Japan-only releases—makes it a legacy series in the world of video games, despite limited acclaim outside of Japan. A new game developed by one of the biggest names in indie game development might help spread the word, though. River City Girls from developer WayForward takes the classic side-scrolling beat 'em up gameplay of the River City Ransom games and gives it a fresh facelift, perfect for a new generation of gamers, though the antiquated gameplay makes the experience a bit of a slog at times. The original River City Ransom follows two high school guys on a quest to rescue one of their girlfriends, so naturally River City Girls flips the script with two female protagonists fighting to rescue their boyfriends. It's a simple, straightforward plot buoyed by the larger-than-life personalities of all of the characters and the absurdity of punching, kicking, and otherwise beating up endless waves of thugs and gang members all over town. The developers are well aware of the humor of the situation and slip plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes, and even if not all of them land perfectly, there's still a lot of charm in the writing. The gameplay is straight up classic brawler action: you have quick or heavy attacks at your disposal, plus a small variety of other attacks—grappling dazed enemies, picking up items to bash with or throw, special attacks that drain your special meter, etc. You'll also earn experience points and level up throughout the game, adding more attacks to your repertoire and allowing you to buy new attacks from dojos scattered across the city. The game follows a pretty constant, basic formula: enter a new area, fight or dodge a few minor enemies, then eventually hit a locked screen where you have to defeat all enemies before progressing. Beat 'em ups tend to be highly repetitive, and that's not too different for River City Girls either. Your enjoyment of the game hinges entirely on how much satisfaction you glean from beating down the same handful of enemy types over and over again. It feels clear that the developers sought to preserve the classic brawler formula as closely as possible, even if it comes off as a bit dry for a modern game. It seems like a missed opportunity not to add some more variety to the experience or even jazz up the combat with more interesting combo varieties. And it certainly doesn't help that there are only so many different types of enemies that you'll see over and over who seem to level up with you, so you never really get noticeably better at beating them up, you just have a few more combo options. Most significantly, River City Girls is beholden to the somewhat slow, slightly awkward controls of classic beat 'em ups, meaning you have to be on the same plane as an enemy to actually hit them, and adjusting up or down the screen can feel finnicky, or at least not fast and snappy. Obnoxiously it often feels like enemies don't have to be lined up as perfectly as you in order to hit you with a stunning combo. Ultimately this is a game for brawler fans, one that doesn't so much modernize the gameplay experience as preserve it, warts and all. If the game does click with you though there's a decent amount of content to enjoy. Finishing the game once can take as little as seven or eight hours, but there are also side quests to pursue, co-op mode, and additional features that are unlocked after beating the game once. The gameplay never fundamentally changes but completionists will enjoy maxing out all of these slight variations. You can also purchase and equip up to two pieces of gear which grant small buffs, such as regenerating health or increased attack power against certain enemy types. Again, these don't wildly change the experience but they add some welcome customization. The purchasing process can be rather annoying though because you can't see what effect items will have until after you buy them, which sometimes makes it feel like you've wasted your hard-earned money. It should be no surprise for a WayForward game, but River City Girls looks great. The in-game graphics feature smooth pixel artwork and slick animation for all of the various attacks you'll be dishing out, while the fully animated cutscenes look beautiful. There are also stylish black-and-white manga-style cutscenes that feel right at home in the game's universe. The synth-pop soundtrack is also excellent and adds some valuable pep and energy to beating down opponents over and over. There's also some solid voice acting, though at times I did wish I could simply speed up the text to move things along a little more quickly. River City Girls faithfully recreates the RCR experience, but perhaps could have done more to improve upon it instead. Even with WayForward's stylish visual design and catchy soundtrack, the simple repetitive nature of the beat 'em up genre can be draining, especially when little aspects like the controls feel like they haven't changed in decades. Still, River City Girls offers a fun co-op adventure tailor-made for the fans that long for the days of NES or arcade brawlers. Rating: 7 out of 10 Punches
  8. Do it! Embrace the call of the wild! Collect all the Korok seeds!
  9. Trial of the Sword in Master Mode is one of the most stressful video game experiences I've had in recent memory, but I'm glad I beat it.
  10. In the game's opening scene, the protagonist learns that he is, emphatically, not the hero. But just because he can't swing a sword doesn't mean he can't go on a globe-trotting adventure to save the world. Wandersong puts you not in the role of a dashing swordsman, but a humble and almost ridiculously friendly bard, whose gift of song may be the key to saving everything and everyone. Not surprisingly this makes for an utterly charming adventure, one with simple but fun side-scrolling puzzle platforming and a lot of heart. As you might expect for a game about helping people through the power of music, Wandersong is extremely cute, extremely silly, and extremely heartwarming. There is a lot of goofy humor here, not just in the way the bard interacts with people but in the odd little lives of the villagers you meet throughout the adventure. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes to discover, and also a lot of text to read through (but it's worth talking to everyone as much as possible). The game balances out this happy-go-lucky vibe with some affecting, heartfelt moments as well and isn't afraid to get a bit serious at times, which makes it easy to care about these characters and their silly little lives. Wandersong nails the "child's game that adults can enjoy" aesthetic, and most players would be hard pressed not to get misty-eyed at the game's climax. The gameplay is essentially a side-scrolling puzzle platformer, but instead of using items or gaining magic abilities, the bard uses his voice to move through the environment and overcome obstacles. For example, there might be a high ledge that you can't jump to, but by singing the same song as a nearby bird, the bird will help carry you up to the ledge. There's a decent variety of puzzles and obstacles that you'll face, enough to keep the gameplay engaging throughout. You can sing different notes by hitting one of eight directions with the right control stick, and these notes are also color-coded for clarity. Using the right stick to hit notes can be a little imprecise at times but thankfully the game never really requires fast, precise songs, so a bit of looseness in the controls isn't a big deal. Wandersong isn't really a difficult game in any sense, but its casual, breezy pacing still makes for an enjoyable adventure. Plus there's a button dedicated to dancing, so you can literally dance your way through the game, and that has to count for something. You might expect the game to be incredibly short given its low sense of difficulty and relatively straight-forward story, but you can expect a good eight or ten hours with Wandersong, and a captivating eight or ten hours at that. Depending on how much you talk with villagers and other side characters throughout the game your experience might be even longer. And although the game is quite linear there's a sort of side quest in that you can learn new dance moves in each act of the game. It's not much but it's worth seeking out to see the bard bust a new move. The game's paper cutout art style may immediately bring to mind comparisons to Paper Mario, but Wandersong's aesthetic is hardly derivative. The colorful, simple, and charming visuals are the perfect match for the bubbly and breezy tone of the story and gameplay, and even if the shapes are rather simple the colors are beautiful and striking. On the Switch the edges of objects can get rather jagged though, and it's a shame that these stylish graphics aren't at their best on the system, but it's not too disruptive. And of course the music is fantastic—this is a game all about singing after all. The soundtrack is broad and varied with plenty of catchy, soothing, and touching songs for the bard's journey, culminating in a particularly harmonious final number. Wandersong's musical take on side-scrolling platforming is absolutely charming, and honestly a great break from typical sword and shield combat gameplay. The singing mechanics are simple but make for a fun variety of puzzle-solving challenges, even if the game is never truly difficult. Wandersong is an uplifting, feel-good adventure, and perhaps now more than ever that's what we want and need from video games. Rating: 8 out of 10 Songs
  11. Well I didn't see any stickers, so that's a good sign. The battle system looks kind of fun too, with the whole ring-battlefield and lining up enemies to hit them all at once. Reminds me of Radiant Historia.
  12. I had the same thought; I can't see why a remaster of 20 year old games wouldn't be able to run on the Switch. But the trailer did advertise 4K graphics, and maybe they just don't want to go through the effort of making a build of the game specifically for the Switch. Hopefully we'll just get a Switch port at a later date though.
  13. Honestly a little surprised that Pokémon Sword/Shield isn't higher, but obviously 17M is still huge. Will New Horizons finally be the game to unseat Mario Kart 8 Deluxe from the number one spot?
  14. Side by side I definitely see the similarities. Nice to see that Retro's work still had an impact. I can understand Nintendo might not have gone for this direction back then, but nowadays I think they'd be totally open to a third-party collaboration for a spin-off focused on the Sheikah tribe, and I'd be curious too.
  15. - Vampyr (Switch) I was pretty disappointed with this one, from the story to the gameplay to the way it ran on the Switch. The concept is great, I just didn't enjoy the execution. - Persona 5 (PS4) First time playing a Persona game, though from playing other SMT games and Tokyo Mirage Sessions I mostly knew what to expect. Really enjoyed it, and the music is going to be stuck in my head for weeks. Would've preferred a more even balance between palaces and real-world activities, but I did enjoy both aspects of the gameplay. - Trials of Mana (Switch) There are definite areas where the remake should have further improved over the original (??? seeds are still needlessly annoying to collect and grow), but even after having played the original last year the remake is a blast and has some fun new features. - Picross S3 (Switch) Color Picross is a pretty fun addition. Once I got the hang of it I really liked the new perspective on solving picross puzzles. - Bioshock (PS4) Felt like replaying this since I got it on PS Plus a couple months ago; I'll probably go through the whole trilogy in fact. Man, I still absolutely love the aesthetic of the game—just that opening scene of entering Rapture alone is worth the price of admission. But for all my fond memories of the game I had managed to forget that you are constantly hacking shit, and I even like the hacking mini-game but it is exhausting to do so frequently. Console: 45 Overall: 45
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