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  1. The latest in the Gunvolt series from developer Inti Creates, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX carries the same fast-paced, 2D action gameplay that the franchise is known for. Although experienced players and die-hard action game fans may enjoy the flashy combat mechanics, more casual players may find this game to be more style than substance. In the future, normal humans are controlled and hunted down by a ruling class of enhanced humans called Adepts. You play as Copen—returning from the previous games—who is fighting on behalf of humans to stop the tyranny of the Sumeragi,
  2. It was a pleasant surprise earlier this year when a brand new Paper Mario game was not only revealed and released within a two month span, but also delivered a charming adventure with a unique battle system. But those of us longing for the more traditional RPG mechanics of the first two Paper Mario games are better off looking to the world of indie games, as Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling draws clear inspiration from the battle mechanics, badge system, and visual design of those classic Mario RPGs. This is far from some cheap impersonation though. Bug Fables is a lovingly crafted homage t
  3. Drawing inspiration from both George Orwell's novel 1984 and the classic 2D Prince of Persia game, Ministry of Broadcast combines a dystopian narrative with a challenging mix of platformer puzzles. It's definitely a unique mixture, though some of the gameplay mechanics could have used some fine-tuning. In a dystopian society run by a totalitarian regime, a massive wall created by the rulers has both literally and figuratively divided the people. In the hopes of seeing his family again, one man (never named, but generally referred to as Orange due to his hair) signs up for a reality T
  4. In the continuing trend of porting every major Wii U game to the Switch, Pikmin 3 Deluxe revamps the 2013 Wii U title with new side-story missions as well as co-op gameplay. Although it's somewhat disappointing to see the Wii U grow more and more pointless, it's great to see its hidden gems find new life on a more popular console, and Pikmin 3 is definitely a gem. Instead of Captain Olimar—protagonist of the first two Pikmin games—Pikmin 3 stars a trio of space explorers from the planet Koppai as they search the galaxy for new sources of food. Alph, Brittany, and Charlie crash land o
  5. Carrion puts you in the role of the monster in a monster movie: an amorphous blob of tendrils and teeth escapes the research facility holding it, and now seeks freedom while devouring every scientist and guard in its path. It's a grisly, visceral game that is utterly satisfying to crawl and slither through, even if the experience is over far too quickly. The game doesn't dwell too much on storytelling or plot, but you can piece together the narrative as the creature initially escapes confinement and explores the facility. There are also some flashbacks that fill in a bit of backstory
  6. Plenty of games let you go on a bloody rampage, destroying everything in your path, but few let you do it with every manner of weapon, from swords and guns to carrots and corpses. In the tradition of fast-paced high-score chasers, Bloodroots is a non-stop action experience where your only goal is to kill anyone you can see, and since one hit kills both you and enemies you need to be sure to strike first. When you're in the zone and deftly destroying everyone on screen, flying through levels in Bloodroots is a blast. Getting to that point can be a bit tedious though. You play as Mr. W
  7. Six years ago, developer Mografi Kickstarted their mystery adventure game, Jenny LeClue - Detectivu. Last year the game released on PC and mobile devices, and now Switch owners have the opportunity to experience the mystery as well. Was the game worth the wait? The clues in this case are impeccable writing filled with humor and heart, stylish presentation, and engaging mystery gameplay, leading to only one logical deduction. Our protagonist, Jenny LeClue, is a confident, precocious young girl determined to follow in the detective footsteps of her mother. But Arthurton, their sleepy h
  8. Cats and dogs working together? It's not mass hysteria, it's Cat Quest II, another light action-RPG from developer The Gentlebros. You once again play as a cat hero in the kingdom of Felingard, but this time your journeys will take you to the dog kingdom of Lupus as well. Most importantly, you can also play as a dog in this adventure, and even join up with a friend for local co-op action. Cat Quest II isn't much of a departure from its predecessor, but the simple, snappy action-RPG mechanics still make for a satisfying experience. You play as both a cat and a dog in this game—if you'
  9. Over the past decade, developer Supergiant Games has seemingly gone out of their way to produce particularly unique games, covering a variety of gameplay features but retaining a certain impeccable sense of style in each. To be honest I wasn't thrilled to hear that their latest, Hades, was a roguelike, a genre that has never fully landed with me, even if I have enjoyed a few games that use its death loop mechanics. Leave it to Supergiant, though, to make me a believer. I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise given their previous games so perfectly combine disparate gameplay aspects into a
  10. With a combination of veteran experience and start-up ambition, indie developer Metronomik's debut game throws players into a futuristic world of music and rhythmic action. No Straight Roads stars an indie rock duo trying to make it big in a city that values EDM over any other genre, leading to clashes with the ruling musical elites and a rising swell of underground rock. Ultimately though this blend of action-platforming and stylish design is a bit out of tune. Our protagonists, Mayday and Zuke, perform as the rock duo Bunk Bed Junction in Vinyl City, where music literally provides
  11. Take the Metroidvania formula for 2D exploration, sprinkle in some Dark Souls influence, and wrap it all up in a twisted, macabre world of Christian lore and Spanish art and you get Blasphemous, a dark and striking action-platformer from developer The Game Kitchen. Originally Kickstarted in 2017, the game drew attention for its haunting sense of style and classic gameplay elements. The final result is a game that leans a little too far toward punishment rather than penitence, but Metroidvania fans looking for a challenge should be pleased regardless. You play as the Penitent One, a n
  12. The long-running rumors proved true and Nintendo celebrated 35 years of Mario platforming with a new All-Stars collection. Super Mario 3D All-Stars repackages Mario's first three 3D platforming adventures into one convenient Switch title, bringing with it some visual upgrades and controller adjustments to make each of Mario's landmark games more playable in 2020. It's easy to have wished for more out of this re-release collection, but in the end it still brings together not just wonderful pieces of Mario's history but three fantastic games to boot. Super Mario 64 Starting off wit
  13. Breakpoint puts a new twist on the classic twin-stick shooter formula by giving you melee weapons instead of guns to survive wave after wave of geometric enemies. From developer Studio Aesthesia and publisher Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Breakpoint creates a fresh arcade score-chasing experience out of one novel concept. Breakpoint relies on a straight up classic arcade game formula: your only goal is to rack up a high score by surviving for as long as possible. In fact, the game doesn't even have any other game modes or options, it's all about the core experience and comparing you
  14. Catherine: Full Body brings back the 2011 cult hit with brand new content in the story and gameplay, providing even more relationship complications for protagonist Vincent to puzzle over and towers to climb. With a mix of stylish visual novel storytelling and challenging block tower puzzle gameplay, the original Catherine provided a wholly unique experience. Now this updated version adds even more content, perfect for either returning or new players. Vincent Brooks is in a steady if routine relationship with his long-time girlfriend Katherine, but a chance encounter with an enigmatic
  15. The party killer, determined to silence every noisy gathering he can find, is back again in Party Hard 2 from developer Pinokl Games and publisher tinyBuild Games. As before you're able to systematically dismantle each raucous party by killing everyone in attendance through a variety of traps, explosives, and your trusty knife. But instead of simply massacring every stage, you're also now given specific tasks to complete, including dispatching key targets at the party, finding valuables, or destroying valuable items. The new mission system is a welcome shake up to the original game's format, t
  16. How do you move around in a platformer that doesn't allow you to jump? In Deleveled, from developer ToasterFuel and publisher the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, it's a matter of momentum. In this unusual puzzle-platformer you control two simple squares that gravitate to each other from the top and bottom of the screen, but when one bumps into the platform that the other is resting on, the momentum carries through to propel the square to new heights. Once you get your head wrapped around the concept, you're treated to a wealth of challenging, mind-bending puzzles. By all appearances,
  17. It's been over twenty-five years since the last game in the series but now Streets of Rage 4 is bringing back the franchise in the only way it possibly could: with a ton of side-scrolling beat 'em up action. Rather than reinvent the formula, Streets of Rage 4 feels like it could have been made back in the heyday of the genre, notwithstanding its modern stylish graphics and sound. Fans of the series will love having a new entry, though the way the game clings to the past leaves something to be desired. The story takes place ten years after the events of Streets of Rage 3. The villain
  18. Among last week's Indie World announcements and surprise drops was Evergate, a colorful puzzle-platformer set in the afterlife from developer Stone Lantern Games and publisher PQube. The game seems to draw inspiration from the best of the indie game scene while centering its gameplay around the Soulflame mechanic that allows for inventive platforming challenges and puzzle scenarios. Evergate may seem like a familiar kind of platformer at first, but its unique mechanics and heartfelt story help it stand out. Evergate takes place in the afterlife where you play as the spirit Ki, who is
  19. Up is down, left is right, and sometimes up is left and down is right depending on where you're standing in Manifold Garden, a mind-warping puzzle game all about changing gravity to see solutions from new angles. Developed by William Chyr, this first-person trip into an MC Escher print challenges you with simple gameplay mechanics that are put to wild effects as you navigate a world of repeating patterns and surreal landscapes. And it's a landscape that is a joy to explore. There's no text or voice over to guide you in Manifold Garden, you're simply left to explore this surreal world
  20. [Information] Title: Ion Fury Release Date: May 14th, 2020 (Switch, PS4, Xbox One) August 15th, 2019 (PC) Price: 24.99 Review Code Provided By: 3D Realms Disappointing. It's a word that kept coming up during my time with Ion Fury on Nintendo Switch. While the game is a fantastic, fast and frenetic shooter on PC the Switch port is a mess with multiple problems including bugs, glitches and a less than stable framerate bringing any enjoyment this title has to an almost complete stop. This Bombshell is a Dud Ion Fury is a classic 90's sho
  21. Six years ago, Phoenotopia debuted on Newgrounds as a Flash game. Not content with the dated capabilities of that platform, developer Cape Cosmic fully revamped the game to give it a new life with updated graphics, script, and an all-around bigger scope. Phoenotopia: Awakening is a far cry from its original Flash incarnation, and now takes players on a massive side-scrolling action/adventure packed with side quests, challenging boss fights, and secrets to uncover. Rest assured this is not your typical indie pixel art adventure, particularly due to its charming presentation and fiendishly diffi
  22. The original Deadly Premonition, released in 2010, achieved cult classic status not because it was a good game but because it was a confoundingly bizarre one. It was riddled with technical issues and just plain mediocre design, particularly with its clunky combat mechanics, but the utterly unusual writing—particularly the quirks of its protagonist, FBI agent Francis York Morgan—endeared it to tons of players. But how do you make a sequel to a game like that? One that was loved both because of and in spite of its flaws? It puts Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise in a precarious positi
  23. Who says twin-stick shooters have to be sci-fi? The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines from developer tinyDino Games and publisher Quantum Astrophysicists Guild brings the twin-stick gameplay formula to a fantasy setting. Instead of shooting bullets, you're tossing swords, firing magic bolts, and of course dodging barrages of enemy attacks as well. Throw on a time manipulation mechanic and you've got a fairly unique action game. You play as Gregor, newly appointed member of the Eternal Fellowship and an Ambassador of Time. However, shortly after your induction, the order's capital city
  24. I couldn't be more pleased that nonogram puzzles (aka Picross puzzles) have become an increasingly significant genre of games, to the point where we're now seeing it incorporated into genre mash-ups. Framing the puzzle-solving gameplay around a proper story is a logical combination, and what better genre to use than visual novels? Murder by Numbers combines the story-driven appeal of a game like Phoenix Wright with the addictive puzzle mechanics of Picross, and the result is even more than the sum of its parts. Sure it may seem niche, but the stylish design, charming story, and brain-tickling
  25. How do you keep a franchise feeling fresh game after game? It must be difficult balancing the impulse to repeat the same style/features of a winning formula with branching out and trying something new. For the Paper Mario series, the developers clearly went with the latter by dropping the RPG elements of the first few games and transitioning to a more purely action-adventure system. The change was clumsy, to say the least, and few would disagree that Sticker Star was the low point of the series. Color Splash made some decent steps toward restoring the panache that the franchise is known for, a
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