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  1. ....Is Byleth the bad guy in this one?!? I thought it was the other way around with this new guy was the bad guy but this is interesting way make a new character for Three Houses and make the Byleth who is a mercenary so this turn of events is possible. Also like the house new names or nickname or whatever for each leader of the house. Everything seems to have change for the setting of Fodlan, this is kinda cool.
  2. Special thanks to ArmoredFrog for the banner! Hello once again, Ninfora members! This is Lt. Surge, host of the widely popular and retired Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart Wii game nights! Every Thursday night, I am willing to host a night of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! All the craziness of the new eighth installment of Mario Kart in what I am hoping to be a successful night of fun, laughter, and nail-biting races! Joining is pretty straight forward: RSVP your spot by indicating your interest in participating and use our tourney code to enter the weekly tournament! Also, the last Thursday of every month will see the speed class in the tournament change from 150cc to 200cc for a night of high speed and crazy item shenanigans to say farewell to the current month and start anew with the following month. For those that wish to be in contact during the races, there is the forum's Discord server and the MK8 channel that was built on the server. There, we can chat via text and even join the voice chat channel in the same app. With that said, I hope to see plenty of racers every Thursday! See you on the flip side! For those interested, you can find all of the tournament highlights and streams in the following playlists, straight from The Krazy One's YouTube channel Discord invite is here. Tournament Playlist (Edited Videos) Streams (In original format ~Unlisted) Battles
  3. If I didn't know any better I'd say Triangle Strategy was targeted specifically at me. It features tactical-RPG gameplay similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, the lovely HD-2D art style first seen in Octopath Traveler, and the kind of morally gray political intrigue you'd find in modern fantasy novels. So yeah, I'm probably predisposed to liking this game just based on its premise, but the final product really is a delightfully engaging strategy game that challenges your wits and convictions. Just stick with it through the first few hours. The story takes place in Norzelia, where three nations have established a relatively new peace. Each country has control of a valuable natural resource, so open cooperation and trade is vital. Naturally, everything starts going to hell once the game gets started. The main protagonist is Serenoa Wolffort, a high-ranking lord from the kingdom of Glenbrook with close ties to the royal family. Your journey takes you to the other nations as well, the duchy of Aesfrost and the holy empire of Hyzante, where different ways of life offer pros and cons for the people and the ruling class. Ultimately, your choices dictate what kind of person Serenoa is, what his convictions are, and how they align with these three nations and your allies' morals. I have to admit, the game throws a lot of information at you early on. Even as someone who reads a lot of fantasy novels, with endless lists of characters and their relationships with each other, my head was spinning in the first few hours of Triangle Strategy. Thankfully the game provides a handy chronicle of all these details in the menu, so you can always refresh your memory on places and historical events. This is not a game for players that skim through cutscenes, though. The most important hook in Triangle Strategy is the branching paths system. During major decisions Serenoa will consult with his allies and advisors to decide how to move forward, and you can even talk with them to convince them to follow whichever path you prefer. These scenes unfold with a dramatic vote at the Scales of Conviction that weigh each option. Despite being introduced early, the branching paths don't come into play too much until about a third of the way through the story, but once they do, oh boy. You'll be faced with some agonizing decisions, and having to stand by your choices is an intense experience. You'll both dread and anticipate every time the Scales come out, because you know something serious is about to happen. There are plenty of times where you're forced to consider the lesser of two evils rather than a "good" and a "bad" path, which also nicely adds to the game's replay value. It's good to see a game where the choices have some weight and aren't just slight variations of one path. But while the setting is solid and the decision system is engaging, the characters themselves leave a little something to be desired. They're not bad, but most don't quite find the kind of personality and charm found in recent Fire Emblem games. Some of them are pretty flat, or at the very least don't get further fleshed out until you've raised their levels and have used them in battle for hours and hours. The antagonists are also perhaps a little too antagonistic. The whole concept of the game wants you to agonize over whom to trust and what path to take, but some of the villains are moustache-twirling-levels of villainy, so of course you won't trust them. For a game that wants to emphasize morally gray choices, it would have been nice to have more morally gray characters (and granted there are a few standout morally-gray characters, and they're great, but the game could've used more of that). Finally I should get to talking about the gameplay, though maybe that's appropriate since the game can feel a little lopsided at times and weighted toward cutscenes instead of battles. Nevertheless, once you're actually in a battle they are delightfully crunchy tactical challenges, especially by the end of the game. In a lot of strategy games your characters end up feeling like wrecking balls by the late game, but not here. You'll need to carefully plan your moves and weigh each character's strengths and weaknesses. Don't worry though, there's no permadeath so you can be a little cavalier in how you play. Each character has a unique class and unique abilities (you also can't change classes but you can upgrade them to unlock additional abilities). You'll need to consider the standard elements of strategy games—turn order, environment, attack range, etc.—and manage each character's TP, which allows them to use skills. Another key feature here is the follow up attack system, which allows you to deliver an extra attack if you surround an enemy with two of your characters in a pincer formation. Beware though, because enemies can do the same to you. Since each character acts independently in the turn order based on their speed, you may inadvertently put a character into peril by pushing them forward without backup. On the other hand, clumping up makes you an easy target for magic attacks. At every second you'll need to consider these kinds of challenges. Triangle Strategy does a great job of gradually raising the stakes on you. Early on, while you're still learning the basics, the game takes it easy on you, and risky plays aren't punished. But around the same time that the story takes off the gameplay takes off the kid gloves and you'll need to carefully consider how to approach each map. There's a good amount of variety in maps and encounters as well, so you're not just defeating every enemy in each battle, which makes every chapter feel like a fresh challenge. Sometimes caution is key and sometimes the game won't give you the luxury of moving forward slowly, so you'll need to adapt to each battle. For a strategy fan, the whole gameplay structure is excellent. There's enough meaty tactical thinking involved to get your brain churning, but it's also not so tedious that you need to exhaustively track stats or things like accuracy and terrain effects. It's very easy for a strategy game to be unwelcoming to players, but Triangle Strategy finds a nice balance while still pushing you with challenging and engaging encounters. Like a lot of strategy games, the roster of characters is far larger than the number of units you can actually bring into battle, so you'll inevitably leave some back at camp, never leveling up. Since each character has unique abilities there are actually tons of strategies you can come up with, though admittedly it's hard to not use the more basic characters you get early on—they're just useful in virtually every scenario. Of course, that means there's plenty of replay value if you want to try out each character, plus you can obviously replay the game to experience the branching paths and multiple possible endings. It's also nice that one playthrough of the game isn't terribly long—around thirty-five hours or so if you're fighting optional battles to ensure your main characters are properly leveled—so playing through each path isn't an overwhelming time commitment. As I already mentioned, I was excited to see the return of HD-2D sprites, like those found in Octopath Traveler. The art style is a little less diorama-y in Triangle Strategy than that previous game, and since the enemies are mostly human characters you don't get quite as much variety of sprite-work as in a standard RPG, but the blend of classic 2D artwork and modern HD sensibilities still looks great. The soundtrack is also excellent and helps hammer home the grand drama of both your political and combat maneuverings. The voice work, however, isn't quite up to par. The dialogue is written in a somewhat formal, stilted way, perhaps to convey a feeling of courtly dealings, but the effect doesn't quite land. The voice work seems to have been given the same direction—a lot of the delivery is stiff or just unnatural, and just doesn't quite bring the characters to life. It's a minor complaint though, and the voice acting is still good, just not necessarily great. Triangle Strategy is a satisfyingly balanced tactical-RPG experience. Though it comes across as dialogue heavy and strategy light in the first few hours, the story progresses in engaging ways that force you to make hard decisions while at the same time evaluate and perfect your combat strategies. There's enough depth here to satisfy strategy fans but enough wiggle room that you don't have to be a master tactician to get the most out of the game. And with the wealth of strategic approaches and replay value found here, players may grow to become tactical masterminds just by exploring every branching path that Triangle Strategy offers. Rating: 9 out of 10 Strategies
  4. Decided to make Legends Arceus dedicated fully to this game and everything in it. Feel free to post any experiences, tip or general talk about this game. For the time being, for those who played far into this game, please use spoilers. I won't post anything spoiler-y a week after this thread is created. Enjoy!
  5. Fall Guys is coming to Switch on June 21st and will be going FREE to PLAY! I've never played Fall Guys, but it looked like a lot of dumb fun. Since it's going F2P, I'll check it out when it hits Switch. I've always wondered why it wasn't F2P to start with...? If you pre-register (It's FREE) you will unlock rewards if any of the goals are met... *See link in Tweet*
  6. I was surprised to see that it's actually been a minute since the last LEGO video game. For a while there it seemed like there were three or four coming out every year, whether based on licensed properties or original content, and all of them sporting the same gameplay formula that has practically become a genre unto itself at this point. But with a bit of time since the last brick-based game, does LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga come off feeling like a more fresh experience? Well, yes and no. Perhaps more importantly though, fans of the LEGO game formula will still be well-satisfied with this one for dozens upon dozens of hours. Skywalker Saga covers all nine of the main Star Wars movies, and you can begin your journey with the first of any of the three trilogies (i.e. episode I, IV, or VII). The game serves as a condensed version of each of these nine episodes, with cutscenes that rapidly take you through the set-up and exposition of each scene and gameplay levels that cover all of the blaster firing, lightsaber dueling, and spaceship battles that Star Wars fans know and love. Especially for having not watched any of these movies in a long while, it was fun to run through them again, even if the game does add the usual LEGO slapstick humor—it's not all bad, but some of the predictable jokes definitely drag on for too long. Each episode includes five main missions which play as like the usual LEGO games, meaning there's some light puzzle solving as you craft objects or use characters' unique skills to help you progress as well as battles with melee attacks, blasters, or space dogfights. At its core, the LEGO formula still has a fair bit of charm. It's rather predictable and obviously skews on the easy side to accommodate young players, but even if it's rarely demanding it's still pretty fun to run around breaking apart LEGO brick objects and exploring. There are even a handful of clever, fun challenges sprinkled throughout the game—not as much as I would've liked perhaps, but it's nice that there's a bit of variety here. The combat also feels a little more engaging this time around with some variety in your attacks. This still isn't exactly an action game by any means but fighting stormtroopers is a bit less mindlessly repetitive. And like past LEGO games there is an insane amount of things to collect, not all of which is possible on your first playthrough since you'll need characters with specific abilities that might not be there during the "canonical" first playthrough. Characters are divided up into categories and each one has unique abilities—Jedi can, obviously, use lightsabers to cut through specific walls, while scavengers like Rey are able to craft items that help them traverse the environment. The main levels are already filled with plenty of things to discover, but the real bulk of the game comes from the sandbox areas between levels that are oftentimes massive and packed with side quests, optional challenges, and collectibles to grab. Finishing just the main missions might take you around fifteen hours or so, but trying to 100% complete this game could easily push it closer to eighty or ninety hours. That absolutely insane amount of content is great for hardcore collectible fans but like a lot of LEGO games it can feel like padding. Most missions and challenges are pretty basic and once you've done a few dozen of them it's a little hard to maintain the energy to keep at them. There is at least a good incentive to gather up those collectible bricks while you progress, though. They can be used to upgrade your characters (increased speed, attack power, health, etc.) which at least gives you a more substantial reason to grab them beyond just trying to reach 100% completion. Considering there are over one thousand collectible bricks in the game, it's good to have a little extra motivation to find them. The presentation in Skywalker Saga is just about everything you'd expect from a LEGO game. The animation wrings a ton of charm out of these blocky characters, and the environments have plenty of polish to them that make them feel fully realized, even when they look like a bunch of LEGO bricks. So much of the dialogue is taken straight from the movies which is a great touch, and of course it's always a treat to hear the familiar Star Wars songs in any context. While the art design is pretty solid though, the technical side of the game leaves a lot to be desired. Frame rate dips are a bit annoying but understandable on a multiplatform game. There were plenty of more severe glitches during my playthrough though, which really soured the experience. Textures sometimes failed to load fully during the opening crawl, leaving the text basically unreadable. A scene transition would fail to load so I'd be stuck staring at a wall of the previous scene, unable to progress without exiting and reloading. Visual effects would sometimes get stuck on the screen, so a blurry effect from being hit by a powerful attack would stick around until I'd finished the entire level. Most frustratingly, there were several crashes which necessitated replaying parts of levels. Beware that the game's technical polish is far from complete and there will likely (and hopefully) be some important patches down the line. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a staggeringly massive playground for Star Wars fans to run around in and collect their favorite characters and ships in familiar locales. The usual LEGO formula has a bit of an upgrade here though it's still an undeniably repetitive one, especially if you're hardcore enough to try to collect everything possible in the game. If that sort of thing does tickle your fancy you'll find a wealth of easy but entertaining gameplay here, just be wary of the technical hiccups that will pop up on occasion. Rating: 7 out of 10 Bricks
  7. A throwback to classic side-scrolling beat 'em ups of the 90s, The TakeOver wears its Streets of Rage influence on its sleeve, from genre staples down to some of the character and level design. This game isn't just a copycat though and manages to throw in a couple of novel ideas into a formula that hasn't changed much in decades. But despite those shake ups, only die-hard fans of the genre are likely to dive into The TakeOver. In a story that definitely feels like it came out of the 80s or 90s, the city of Steel Haven has been overrun by crime—taken over by it, you might say. When police officer Ethan's daughter is kidnapped amidst the crime spree, he, his girlfriend Megan, and his friend Connor take to the streets to find her. It's a super generic story told through pretty bland cutscenes. Granted, story-telling isn't usually a priority for beat 'em up games, but the developers might as well not have bothered with any kind of plot in that case. Just have a bunch of cops/protagonists beating up gang members, simple. No need to try to give the final boss some thin motivation literally in the final cutscene of the game. The TakeOver has all the fundamentals of a side-scrolling beat 'em up with one or two notable additions. Instead of a single attack button you've got two: punch or kick. By chaining the two together you can use long combos that oftentimes stunlock enemies into place, which is a nice way of speeding up fights sometimes (though it won't work on every enemy and obviously not on bosses). You've also got special moves that drain health and a super meter that gradually fills as you land hits (and decreases when you take damage) that can be used for a powerful burst attack. Finally there's a rage meter that also gradually fills as you attack and allows you to enter an invincible, super-powered state for a short while. You can also sometimes find melee weapons and every character comes equipped with a gun for ranged attacks, though ammo is limited so you'll need to find it as you progress through each stage. The end result is that The TakeOver's combat has one or two fun wrinkles but ultimately plays like every other side-scrolling beat 'em up. If you're playing a beat 'em up in this millenium that's probably all you want anyway, something that evokes that classic sense of arcade combat and progression, even with all its little flaws like missing an enemy because you're not quite on the right y-axis even though they can hit you just fine. Still though, it would've been nice to have even more new, unique features in The TakeOver, especially since they clearly touched upon a couple of ideas. The game does have a couple of bonus action stages to break up the action, though these are also pretty simple and don't really change the fact that The TakeOver is repetitive, even though it only takes a few hours to play through it all. Even with combos and various special attacks the combat system always feels like the same thing over and over, and it's rarely rewarding, i.e. it doesn't often feel like you win because of skill or planning, you just win by mashing the attack buttons over and over. It's mindless action, which can be fun for a bit but gets stale pretty quickly. Aside from the main arcade mode, there are a couple of other game modes to try, though they don't switch up the gameplay much at all. Challenge mode literally just has you replay individual sections of the game with some side-goal in mind, like not letting your health drop below 50% or never using special attacks. As far as bonus modes go, it's pretty lackluster. There's also Survival mode where you just fight waves and waves of enemies—not a terribly inspired game mode either but at least you know what you're getting right off the bat. You can also play any game mode with two-player local co-op, and although this doesn't spice up the gameplay much either, it is nice to have another couch co-op game out there. The presentation in The TakeOver is a little hard to pin down because, while individual elements do look pretty good—the character design, level design, etc.—the overall style is so busy and has something of a plasticky, stiff feel to it when animated. The cutscenes are played in a stylish 2D comic book, but the artwork is a bit bland and unpolished. And last but not least, the soundtrack is energetic and gives off that 90s arcade vibe, though the individual songs don't stand out much. The TakeOver is, like many throwbacks or revivals of classic video game genres, a good imitation of an older form of gameplay, but doesn't seem to want to push the genre forward at all. Separate punches and kicks with combo chains is a fun addition but doesn't quite break up the monotony of the side-scrolling action formula, and the uninspired writing and visuals aren't switching things up much either. Fans of beat 'em ups might enjoy having another side-scroller to punch their way through, but anyone not already charmed by the genre may feel that The TakeOver is too generic. Rating: 6 out of 10 Takeovers
  8. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is coming to the Nintendo Switch next year. Made by Vanillaware, creators of games such as Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Odin Sphere, and Dragon's Crown, the game is a Visual Novel with some RTS elements thrown in. My personal favorite game of 2020, it has a really great overarching story that spans over 13 different viewpoints. If you haven't already, please play this game, either when it comes out on Switch, or on PS4; it really is an amazing visual novel.
  9. We've got plenty of stories about a hero rising up to fight monsters and demons, but Skul: The Hero Slayer flips the script. In this game you play as a lowly skeleton soldier on a quest to rescue the Demon King who has been attacked by human warriors. With fast and frantic combat and roguelike randomization and progression, Skul is an addictive adventure. It's a lot of fun to be playing as a "bad guy" undead fighter, rescuing other monsters like witches, trolls and the like. Aside from the premise though, Skul doesn't delve too deeply into storytelling. The first time you reach a new region of the game you're treated to little cutscenes that add some context, but it's pretty minimal and since you only see them once in the dozens (or even hundreds) of times you'll play through the game, they don't leave much of an impact. Skul is a roguelike, meaning that the levels are randomly generated, the items/weapons you find are randomly provided, and when you die you start back at square one to try it all over again. The twist here is that Skul can literally swap his skull for other ones, granting him different abilities. Skulls, then, essentially act as weapons. You can pick up basic sword fighter or archer skulls, magic-user skulls, or more unique ones like rockstar and even skulls that reference other roguelike games. The amount of skulls feels great—there are enough that you can experiment with tons of options, but not so many that you'll get overwhelmed by them, especially since you can't control which skulls you'll find in each playthrough. Skulls can also be upgraded to be stronger (only in your current playthrough) so once you do find ones you like you can keep them and just keep upgrading them to improve your damage output. Aside from skulls, you'll also pick up items on each run that provide various buffs, from basic extra damage to special effects like granting you a temporary shield every so often. Like a lot of roguelikes there is a ton to learn when you first start Skul, so figuring out which items work for your playstyle will take time, and this is all further complicated by the affinities that each item provides. Items have two affinities which grant additional bonus effects which can be stacked, so it might behoove you to have a lot of items with similar affinities to get a bigger bonus effect. Like I said it can feel overwhelming at first and the game doesn't actually do a good job of explaining these little features, but since this is the kind of game that you're expected to play over and over and over, you'll gradually learn what affinities do what and which ones might be most beneficial to your current run. The combat itself is fast, frantic, and satisfying. Some skulls are speed-based and some are power-based, but either way you'll have a blast smashing your way through groups of enemies as you dodge enemy attacks and juggle the cooldown meters of your special abilities. There's a good amount of variety in enemy types so you'll be up against different challenges in each region of the game, though by the end enemies can feel like damage sponges if you haven't carefully curated your skull/item set up. There are also mini-bosses and bosses to truly test your skills, and like all roguelikes it's super satisfying when you get good enough to take them out without much effort. Although the maps are randomly generated you do have some control over where to go next. Most rooms end with two doors and the decorations around the doors indicate what kinds of challenges/rewards await you. You might want to just take on a normal door if you're low on health and are hoping to make it to the next merchant room to buy healing items, or you might want to try a skull door to get a new skull or break it into bone shards that can be used to upgrade your current skulls. There aren't that many different types of rooms but having some control over where you go next helps you plan out your playthrough. Skul features some fantastic 2D artwork as well as a pretty catchy soundtrack. The scenery is incredibly detailed and the sprite-work on the skulls/enemies is sharp. Even though you're going to see these environments and characters over and over, there's a lot of depth and personality here as well as good readability when the screen is filled with chaotic combat. The music does a great job of building up the intensity of the action as you progress as well, and is catchy enough that it doesn't grow stale anytime soon. Skul: The Hero Slayer adds just a couple spins to the standard roguelike formula, but with such a solid foundation those little touches add a good amount of personality. Slowly learning how to efficiently fly through the game is always a satisfying challenge, and although Skul has some particularly obtuse mechanics that will take time to learn as well as a very slow progression system to upgrade your abilities between runs, the core gameplay is polished enough that roguelike fans will enjoy coming back for more, one playthrough after the next. Rating: 8 out of 10 Skulls
  10. Nintendo is on a roll for the last 2 weeks, with short trailer reveals. Splatoon 3 releases September 9th. Here's a look at the some Turf War gamepaly! Also, below is news on some Splatoon DLC is on NSO EP. Possible good news, Splatoon 3 supports cloud saves. This makes me wonder if Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will support cloud saves. These games never had it before because cheating and Nintendo is still new to the internet. See how voice chat works in Splatoon 2 for reference.
  11. Site: https://tetris99.nintendo.com/ Price: Free for Nintendo Switch Online Members (Exclusive) The free to download online software, Tetris® 99, is available as a special offer for Nintendo Switch Online members. In large-scale, 99-player battles, it'll take speed, skill, and strategy to knock out the competition and become the last player standing. You can target opponents by sending them Garbage Blocks, but be careful…your rivals can target you back! Defeat opponents to acquire KO badges that may give you the advantage on future attacks. Survive the onslaught and look forward to upcoming online events! (FREE with NSO membership) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) *Big Block DLC "Season Pass" ($9.99) includes 2 modes, with more to be announced at a later date. NEW Modes Now Available!: UPCOMING EVENTS: 🏆 4th Maximus Cup - 6/21 to 6/23 (Win Gold My Nintendo points!)... PAST EVENTS: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Did anyone download this yet? I played a few rounds and the highest I placed so far was 20th and most KOs I had in one match was 5. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this with being able to have multiple people attack you at once and being able to switch who you're attacking on-the-fly. So far this game seems very bare-bones right now. No tutorial/how to play, only one mode. can't play with friends, no offline practice, no unlockables, etc. It seems like Nintendo just ripped a smaller online mode out of a larger Tetris game and gave it to NSO members for free. However, there is an EXP meter witch will increase your level as you play, but IDK if your lvl even matters. Can others even see your level? I noticed it says Ver. 1.0.0 on the main menu, so it seems like Nintendo plans to regularly update this. I'd really like to see some of the things mentioned above add to the game, because I'm really digging battle royale Tetris...As crazy of a concept as that is.
  12. Which came first, the bomb or the chicken? Thankfully, 2D platformer Bomb Chicken isn't too concerned with such philosophical musings. This game is all about one chicken's desperate adventure to escape a fast-food chain's surprisingly elaborate facilities, using only her wits and a seemingly endless supply of bombs she can lay. Its oddball premise doesn't change the fact that there's some unique and clever platforming challenges to enjoy here. Bomb Chicken's simple controls yields some complex puzzle-platforming. The only two actions you can perform are moving left and right or laying a bomb—this chicken can't even jump, much less fly to freedom. In order to reach ledges or climb over obstacles you can push yourself up by dropping a stack of bombs. To make matters trickier your own bombs can damage you, so after dropping one you have to be careful to avoid the blast radius. The result is a pretty clever twist on typical platforming challenges. Even a small step can prove dangerous since you'll need to push yourself up with a bomb then move away before it can detonate. Add in challenges like enemies, moving platforms, or flaming hazards and you'll find a great variety of unique platformer scenarios that make great use of the simple bomb-dropping mechanic. Seemingly every level presents a new challenge to overcome as there's always an engaging new hazard to contend with. In addition to simply reaching the goal of the level, each stage has a handful of blue gems for you to collect. More than a typical gold coin collectible though, these gems can be used to give you additional hearts. You may die in one hit, but it's not game over until all of your hearts are used up—each stage is divided into several rooms, so dying puts you back at the beginning of the room while losing all hearts sends you back to the very beginning of the stage. Obviously collecting gems is pretty crucial then, though grabbing them can occasionally be more challenging than it seems. There are even secret areas you can uncover that will reward you with gems hidden behind the trickiest challenges. Collecting gems can be a great secondary objective to truly test your bombing skills and give you a handy crutch on the harder levels. The main downside of Bomb Chicken is simply that the game doesn't last that long. There are only 29 stages in the game, and even with numerous deaths/retries the average player isn't going to need more than a few hours to finish the whole game. Collecting all of the blue gems might be a more difficult challenge, but even that won't extend the game's length by much. There's something to be said for keeping the gameplay to a tight, short experience to ensure the action stays fresh and never gets too repetitive, but still, it would've been nice to see even more levels here. The game's presentation mixes some great pixel graphics with only so-so audio. Even if there are only a handful of enemy designs and three different worlds to traverse, the sprite work is top notch, particularly around the chicken's hilarious waddling animation. The graphics may not be too flashy but there's still a lot of personality to enjoy here. The music is less charming though, with little that stands out throughout its repetitive background music tracks. Bomb Chicken presents a fun, unique twist on platforming and manages to get a lot of mileage out of its explosive poultry premise. The game may not last long but there are plenty of clever puzzles and challenges to enjoy, many of which will leave you on the edge of your seat as you narrowly outrun a chain of deadly explosions. 2D platformer fans will have a blast with this one. Rating: 7 out of 10 Bombs
  13. Update: Lawsuit officially filed. https://ninfora.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3325-switch-joy-con-drift-class-action-lawsuit... If you don't know about this whole deal with the Switch Joy-Con drift, watch the video in the spoiler bellow first. Luckily I haven't experienced this, yet. Though, I know there are a lot that have. I really hope this goes somewhere, because this is a major design flaw and Nintendo hasn't said a world. Joy-Con aren't cheap, ya' know ...Even for a single one. If you haven't experienced this yet, you will eventually. This really makes me wonder about the Switch Lite. Hopefully they didn't use the same control sicks as in the Joy-Con, because you'd be screwed if you start getting drift. You can't just buy new Joy-Con. I know you can just replace the sticks on the Joy-Con yourself, but most people are comfortable doing that and on the Lite, It would probably be more of a pain. In an all perfect world, Nintendo would fix this flaw and replace everyone's Joy-Con sticks for FREE.
  14. With so many RPGs that take place across huge, sweeping narratives and 50+ hour time commitments, it can be a refreshing change of pace to play one that is smaller and somewhat cozier in scale. The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a storybook adventure about one little girl's dreams of becoming a hero, told through an adorable hand-drawn art style. But while the game's aesthetics are undeniably charming, the gameplay and pacing could use some work. You play as Yuu, a young girl who is being raised by monsters. Her adoptive dad is the Dragon King, a powerful but kind dragon that hilariously watches over Yuu during her adventures by peeking through the background. Yuu aspires to be a great hero like her father and gradually takes on quests to aid the monster village and accomplish great deeds. It's an almost saccharinely cute story and Yuu is an adorable protagonist, always eager to help and lend a friendly ear. The twists are mostly predictable but the game really doesn't present itself as a complex narrative anyway so the relative simplicity of the story doesn't feel out of place. The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a turn-based RPG with random encounters, equipment to find, special skills to learn, etc. At first it's just Yuu on a solo adventure but she soon picks up allies that join her in battle—only one at a time though. The combat system doesn't have many fancy frills. You've got standard attacks, special skills, items, etc. Skills require energy which naturally recovers during battle, so you can't just spam them all the time. It's a pretty easy system to learn but it can also feel too simple at times. Standard battles can get pretty repetitive as you end up using the same tactics over and over. In fact, there aren't that many special skills available in the game, so even that aspect of combat feels somewhat bare. If the story and presentation are anything to go by, The Cruel King and the Great Hero may seem suited for new or young players, so the simplicity of the combat system may seem appropriate. However, the game also has some pretty significant difficulty spikes that can be pretty draining as you devote time to level grinding or just doing side quests to power up a bit. The tone of the game and the difficulty of the gameplay feel at odds with one another, and it can make progress a bit discouraging. It certainly doesn't help that the pacing of the game is as slow as molasses. Yuu walks slowly through some pretty large environments, and the flow of battle, while not terribly slow, isn't exactly fast either. Progress is absolutely plodding in The Cruel King and the Great Hero, and then there's the random encounter system to weigh things down even more. I'm normally not one to gripe about random encounters—they were standard in the RPGs I grew up on, after all—but they can get annoying here. For one thing, your slow walking pace means it feels like you've hardly made progress across the screen before you're thrown into another battle. For another, the "avoid encounters" item that you can use isn't 100% effective, so even when you're backtracking through areas full of weak monsters in order to complete a side quest you'll still have to sit through some battles. And since battles themselves aren't all that interesting, the cycle of random encounters can feel oppressive. It's okay to have a leisurely paced game, but The Cruel King and the Great Hero is almost tediously slow. And the story isn't actually that long, especially by RPG standards, but you'll feel every minute of the game thanks to its slow pacing. You can finish the story in around twelve hours, though there are also a lot of side quests to tackle which can be useful since they'll reward you with rare items, or at least money. The downside is that the side quests are, you guessed it, pretty repetitive, and the constant backtracking gets obnoxious. Even though it's not as much of a time commitment as other RPGs, you have to mentally prepare for how long and slow The Cruel King and the Great Hero feels. The presentation, though, is probably the highlight of the game, and it doesn't disappoint. The hand-drawn art style is gorgeous, like an animated storybook, and even the monsters you fight are just adorably designed. The art style's charm and playfulness goes a long way in boosting the game's personality even when you're walking back through the same areas over and over. The soundtrack is pretty sharp as well with a suitably cute but adventurous tone. The Cruel King and the Great Hero boasts a great sense of style and an adorable little story, but the core gameplay elements will likely leave players wanting. The combat mechanics are decently done but there aren't many new ideas brought to the table, and the noticeably slow pace of the game really stretches out what is actually a very modest run time for an RPG. Players interested in a cute little RPG might want to check out The Cruel King and the Great Hero, but be prepared for surprising difficulty spikes and a sluggish sense of pacing. Rating: 6 out of 10 Heroes
  15. Available October 8th | https://metroid.nintendo.com/ Join intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran in her first new 2D Metroid™ story in 19 years Samus’ story continues after the events of the Metroid™ Fusion game when she descends upon planet ZDR to investigate a mysterious transmission sent to the Galactic Federation. The remote planet has become overrun by vicious alien lifeforms and chilling mechanical menaces. Samus is more agile and capable than ever, but can she overcome the inhuman threat stalking the depths of ZDR? Face off against unrelenting E.M.M.I. robots Once DNA-extracting research machines, the imposing E.M.M.I. are now hunting Samus down. Tensions are high as you evade these E.M.M.I. to avoid a cruel death while finding a way to take them down. Find out what turned these robotic wonders into the scourge of ZDR and escape with your life. Feel Samus’ power grow as you gain maneuvers and abilities Acquire new and familiar abilities as you traverse the many environments of this dangerous world. Parkour over obstacles, slide through tight spaces, counter enemies, and battle your way through the planet. Return to areas and use your new abilities to find upgrades, alternate paths, and a way forward. Explore the sprawling map, evade and destroy E.M.M.I. robots, and overcome the dread plaguing ZDR. *About from Nintendo.com Price: $89.99 Includes: Standard copy of the game Steelbook game case 5 cards featuring art from Metroid 1-5 190 page art book Pics: Price: $29.99 Functionality: Samus - Gives you an extra energy tank to increase your health by 100 (Once per day). E.M.M.I. - Grants a Missile+ tank to increase Samus’ missile capacity by 10 (once per day). Pics:
  16. It seems like some stories are just guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings, and To the Moon is definitely one of them. Originally created a decade ago with RPG Maker XP, the game tells the story of an old man's dying wish to go to the moon. The story that unfolds though is beautifully touching and surprising. Virtually every other aspect of the game feels lacking, though. You play as doctors Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts who use a sci-fi headset to enter the memories of patients and can even change or manipulate those memories. For dying patient Johnny Wyles, they enter his mind and implant a false memory of wanting to travel to the moon, thereby allowing him to live out the experience in his mind. It's an awesome sci-fi setup that quickly dives into relatable human experiences. The doctors travel backwards through Johnny's memories, so the most recent ones are of his late wife River, their courtship, then all the way back to his childhood. This backwards narrative for his life story is naturally engaging and intriguing—why is he the person he is in his old age? You'll have to travel farther back to find out. It's not just a clever narrative format—To the Moon is incredibly touching and you can't help but be misty-eyed by the end of the game. It's easy to feel for Johnny and River throughout all stages of their lives. On the other hand though, the two doctors are terribly written. They're meant to be the commentators who react to the memories we're watching, but their dialogue is corny, full of awkwardly inserted pop culture references that aren't funny or charming, and their playful bickering just comes off as obnoxious. In terms of being comedic relief, the doctors fall flat completely. It's also just awkward to have such rapid tonal shifts between the two doctors' clumsy attempts at humor and the often heartfelt scenes unfolding in Johnny's memories. As far as gameplay is concerned, To the Moon is thin, and what's there isn't all that compelling either. This is mostly a visual novel, but you do have to walk around in Johnny's memories and collect tokens or clues that allow you to progress to the next memory. Literally all this means is walking up to any notable objects in the scene and pressing A. Once you have all five clues you have to solve a simple puzzle that feels more like busywork than an integral part of the story or experience. The game is also plagued by stiff controls that will often have you stuck on a corner or you'll think you can walk through a space but you'll hit an invisible wall. All of the actual gameplay or interactive elements of To the Moon feel completely superfluous and oftentimes are more of a hindrance than anything. This is also a fairly short four hour game, but the slow walking speed and slow text speed (which you can't increase, unfortunately) can make it feel longer at times. The presentation of To the Moon is understandably lackluster given its RPG Maker roots. These graphics are cookie cutter, picked out of a basin of pre-made sprites and stuck together for this game. The old-fashioned sprite graphics can still be charming but don't expect anything amazing here. The music, however, is original, and does a fantastic job of elevating the emotional beats of the story. Even if the soundtrack can be slightly repetitive at times, it perfectly sets the atmosphere of traveling through memories of love and loss. To the Moon is a wonderfully emotional story that is well worth reading. It's touching and reflective with a few surprises that keep you on your toes. That said, all of the video game aspects of To the Moon fall flat, from stiff controls to bland, unnecessary interactive elements. The comedic aspects of the writing are also terribly integrated into the narrative, rapidly pulling you out of the more engaging story being told through Johnny's memories. Ultimately To the Moon might be in the wrong medium, but it still tells a heartfelt story. Rating 6 out of 10 Moons
  17. 2022 marks thirty years of the adorable pink puffball's adventures across Dreamland, Planet Popstar, and beyond. Over his storied career, Kirby has dipped his toes into plenty of different platforming mechanics—indeed, for a long time Kirby seemed to be the go-to mascot for testing out unusual game features, whether it was using tilt or stylus controls, yarn-based artwork or splitting into multiple smaller versions of himself to work together. His latest adventure, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, comes with a new ability that is a mouthful and takes place in a 3D environment. No matter what new features or settings Kirby finds himself in though, his games are consistently delightful, and this one is no different. Kirby is minding his own business on Planet Popstar when a mysterious vortex in the sky opens up, sucking him in alongside tons of Waddle Dees (as well as optional co-op character Bandana Waddle Dee). After a rough ride through space and/or dimensions, Kirby awakens on the beach of a landscape filled with crumbling ruins of a forgotten civilization—a civilization that looks suspiciously like our modern world. In order to find a way home though Kirby will have to battle the villainous Beast Pack and rescue captured Waddle Dees. It's a simple, straightforward story elevated by just how cute Kirby and the Waddle Dees really are. Although the settings are in 3D, the core gameplay of the Kirby franchise is perfectly preserved. Kirby can inhale basic enemies and shoot them out, or he can inhale enemies with abilities and copy them, such as fire, sword, ice, etc. There are a couple of new abilities that fit right in with the rest of the classics, and you'll need to use these abilities to fight, explore, and potentially discover hidden rooms or bonus items (or bonus Waddle Dees). Completing a level immediately rescues three Waddle Dees, but scattered throughout each stage are extra ones that require a bit of effort to find, as well as hidden bonus objectives that require more Kirby expertise. These are extra challenges though and not required to simply finish the game. All in all the core Kirby gameplay feels fantastic in Forgotten Land and really exemplifies how simple and well-polished game design can be engaging and exciting even in a franchise with such a long history. The game does err on the easy side, but that just makes it perfect for young or novice players, and Kirby pros will still find reaching 100% completion a worthy challenge. Kirby's fancy new ability is Mouthful Mode, which allows him to (mostly) inhale real world objects and take on their properties. By inhaling a car, he can zoom around crashing into enemies and obstacles. As a traffic cone, Kirby can leap into the air and crash down on the point of the cone to break blocks. Each Mouthful Mode object has just one or two defined uses, but they all make for a fun change of pace when you encounter one, and seeing Kirby stretched around a real world object is hilariously charming (and maybe a tiny bit creepy as well). Like most limited time or limited area power-ups, Mouthful Mode objects provide some fun little puzzles that reward careful and keen-eyed players. The game is divided into levels but between stages you're able to return to Waddle Dee Town, a hub area that hosts all of the Waddle Dees you've rescued. There are a few side features here, like the chance to rewatch cutscenes, collect more figurines through a gacha (aka "Gotcha") capsule machine, and once you rescue enough Waddle Dees new facilities will open up with extra features. The most important part of the town though is probably the copy ability shop, where you're able to upgrade your abilities once you've found a blueprint and have paid the requisite coins/power stones. You'll find coins just about everywhere but power stones come from side levels that are themed around a specific ability or Mouthful Mode ability. They're fun little mini-challenges and the power stones you earn are invaluable since upgrading copy abilities is extremely useful. The abilities don't just become stronger, they'll also take on new properties, like turning the basic sword into a massive blade that is slower so it takes a bit more precision. Adding these new little wrinkles to your arsenal of abilities is a blast, plus you can always opt to use the weaker versions if you'd like. There's not actually a huge selection of copy abilities in Forgotten Land, but the chance to upgrade and experiment with the same abilities over and over more than makes up for it. Where Forgotten Lands really shines is in how sharply designed the whole game feels. The main adventure is only around seven or eight hours long, but it never feels like there's a wasted level or a tedious challenge. There aren't actually that many different types of enemies, but fighting them and exploring platforming/puzzle challenges never gets too repetitive. The selection of copy abilities is kept relatively simple but that also means you don't have a ton of different effects to remember—each one is easy to pick up and use immediately. However, if you do want to see everything the game has to offer you'll probably double that seven/eight hour length when you tackle the more difficult post-game levels and challenges, so no matter your Kirby skill level there's something for everyone here. And naturally, Kirby is just so darn cute. The Waddle Dees and enemies are just as adorable—every single one looks like a plush toy that you just want to squeeze—and the juxtaposition of seeing them all in more realistic settings is actually pretty striking. They don't look all that out of place and instead the scenery helps highlight the charm and personality in all of the character designs. The music is also a total delight. It's energetic and exciting and exactly as fun as you want this kind of platformer soundtrack to be. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is another charming adventure for everyone's favorite puffball. Even in the 3D setting the platformer gameplay remains smooth and satisfying, the puzzles aren't brain-busters but they are fun to discover, and the opportunity to upgrade copy abilities adds an engaging sense of progression as you move from one level to the next. Mouthful Mode is delightfully goofy, and while the main adventure is more or less simple enough for novice players there's plenty of extra content to satisfy completionists. However you like to play though, Kirby and the Forgotten Land exudes fun and charm. Rating: 8 out of 10 Mouthfuls
  18. Nintendo put this video not long stating they need more time produce a product worth experience Hyrule in whole new ways. At least we have release window of spring 2023. I like Aonuma new haircut, tho it makes look more dignified with it short like that in older more profound way, lol. EDIT: Oops, I didn't realizes I made this in general gaming, can someone put this in the Nintendo section. Thank you!
  19. Switch firmware 14.0.0 is now available! 🔗https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22525/kw/switch update#current Praise Jesus, folders are finally here!!!! 😭
  20. 3D puzzle-platformer Ever Forward takes players on a mysterious journey through imagination and memory as one little girl pieces together fragments of her past. Despite some clever and challenging puzzle mechanics though, Ever Forward's clunky controls and technical hiccups make it a forgettable and occasionally frustrating adventure. You play as Maya, a little girl on a suspiciously idyllic but empty island. Scattered throughout the white sand beaches and green fields are strange corrupted structures that lead her to puzzle arenas. Completing a puzzle grants you a short cutscene, revealing a glimpse of Maya's past with her mother. These scenes certainly tug on the heartstrings but there's not much depth or originality to the story being told. Worse, the scattered structure makes the mystery just kind of bland—it's hard to get invested in the narrative. The puzzles themselves show off some pretty clever game design though. In each puzzle you'll need to reach the goal with a cube that unlocks the goal. Sure enough that task gets more and more complicated in each level, and Maya's limited abilities to interact with the environment means you'll need to be especially clever to overcome obstacles. Most often you'll need to avoid guard robots that will zap you if you're spotted, which is only made more complicated by the fact that Maya automatically walks more slowly near these robots. By the end of the game the puzzles get awfully creative and will treat players to plenty of "eureka" moments when things finally click into place. That said, Ever Forward has some surprising difficulty spikes for what appears to be a fairly casual puzzle-platformer. The good news is that you can collect leaves and spend them on helpful tips during a puzzle. The bad news is that these tips aren't always all that clear, and you're given basically no direction on how to find leaves on the island. It's great to have a built-in help system, but it's not quite as comprehensive as players might want. The real issue with Ever Forward's puzzles though is just down to the controls and core mechanics of the game. Moving, picking up objects, judging distances—everything is pretty stiff and unsatisfying. Maya's slow, awkward movement often makes puzzles more challenging than they ought to be. Lining up precise movements feels clumsy, and late in the game you'll come across timing puzzles that are a real headache. Thankfully you're able to save at almost any time, so sometimes you can slowly creep your way toward progress without having to replay entire puzzles, but in the end Ever Forward's controls and core gameplay mechanics just aren't enjoyable. Ever Forward is also surprisingly short. If you blaze through the game you can finish in just about two hours, and even if you end up stuck frequently you probably won't spend more than three hours on it. There's nothing wrong with a short adventure, but for a puzzle game like this it's a bit odd since there are so many more opportunities for puzzle ideas. It almost feels like the game is only just getting going when it ends. And of course, as a puzzle game there's not much of an incentive to replay it, which makes this one-and-done two-hour adventure a hard sell. The game's minimalist style isn't half bad and certainly fits the ethereal, dreamy quality of the experience, but you can't help but wish there was a bit more to the art style. The real issue though is that even this minimalist style runs pretty poorly on the Switch. It doesn't inhibit the gameplay, but the frame rate can get pretty choppy and the visuals experience some crazy pop-in on both near and distant objects. It's jarring and pretty distracting. The audio doesn't have much more depth than the art style. It's also dreamy and mysterious but somewhat bland, and the voice acting is a surprising touch but also doesn't elevate the story much. Ever Forward presents some promising puzzle concepts, and as soon as things get more complicated the game ends. That brief play time wouldn't be quite as disappointing if the other aspects of the experience were better polished though. Clunky controls, poor frame rate on the Switch, and a minimalist but bland art style leave a lot to be desired in this 3D puzzle-platformer. Rating: 5 out of 10 Puzzles
  21. The original Life is Strange game took me completely by surprise. It came out at a time when episodic story-based games felt done to death so I had few expectations going in, but the supernatural mystery plot, clever gameplay mechanics and emotional narrative pulled me in fully. The second game in the series didn't hit me in quite the same way, but Life is Strange: True Colors has a new developer and, despite still being split into distinct chapters, was released all at once as one big game, so how does it stack up in the world of story-based games? You play as Alex Chen, a young woman who moves to a frankly idyllic small Colorado mining town named Haven Springs in order to reconnect with her estranged older brother. The siblings have some shared trauma from being bounced around the foster care system after losing their parents as teens and haven't seen each other in years. If all that wasn't enough, Alex has the unique power to see and absorb the emotions of people around her, and her imperfect control of this ability has brought her plenty of trouble in the past. Although Alex makes an effort to settle into the new setting, a tragedy at the end of the first chapter launches what is essentially a murder mystery to solve on top of all the other challenges weighing on her mind. It's easy to get invested in Alex's story. The writing is sharp and blends together both comedy and tragedy with charming scenes of small-town life filled with interesting, likeable characters. You'll quickly empathize with Alex's struggles, and the overall message of facing and working through emotions makes for a nice narrative hook. That said, the pacing of the story does feel a little rushed. The mystery doesn't have quite enough time to percolate into a fully engaging enigma, and many of Alex's personal relationships come off as effortlessly simple. It hurts some of the more dramatic moments when you, the player, haven't had time to see how much these scenes actually weigh on the characters. The characters are so likeable that you'll be rooting for them regardless, but a little more time to live with them might have helped give the big scenes more punch, particularly the finale. A big part of the game's charm comes from the stellar vocal performances of the cast, particularly from Alex since you see so much of her and need to understand and empathize with her perspective. The entire voice cast does a great job of bringing the characters to life and adding depth to their animated lives. The soundtrack as a whole, just like the first game, is filled with chill indie songs that reflect the emotions running through both Alex and the entire town. Sometimes the song selection comes off as a bit cheesy but fans of the genre should enjoy it all the same. True Colors runs pretty smoothly on the Switch, which isn't all that common with multi-platform releases. There are definitely some technical hiccups, like textures or colors that are slow to load (making some characters' hair color seem to flicker between scenes) and the load times are a little long, but overall the colorful, painterly effect of the art style looks great on the Switch. The visual design makes the town feel cozy and comfortable even in the face of tragedy and drama. As for gameplay features, True Colors seems to have even fewer interactive elements than previous Life is Strange games. You'll spend the vast majority of the game just looking at objects and talking with characters as Alex's power over emotions has more story uses than gameplay uses. It's still engaging thanks to the strength of the characters and their relationships but it doesn't quite compare to how, for example, Max's time powers in the original Life is Strange naturally fed into the gameplay structure. There are some fun mini-games in True Colors though, and the third chapter in particular plays out as essentially a side-game that is pretty charming. And as always in these games your choices have consequences, so you'll see story beats play out a little bit differently based on what you choose to do, and comparing your choices with other people is always fun. Life is Strange: True Colors is a worthy sequel in the franchise. The narrative design and emotional core of the story are excellent and you'll easily be charmed by Alex and the residents of Haven Springs. Alex's power over emotions may not have the most interesting gameplay uses but it makes for a strong storytelling element. The game's shorter, roughly ten hour length might have hurt it in the end as not all of the dramatic moments are as fleshed out as they could be, but there's still an engaging, emotional story to enjoy in True Colors. Rating: 8 out of 10 Colors
  22. West of Dead: Path of the Crow combines the snappy action of a twin-stick shooter with the tense, ever-changing stakes of a roguelike, all within an Old West setting. It's a stylish and engaging experience while it lasts, but unlike most roguelikes this one might not have the legs to sustain playthrough after playthrough. You're a dead man. You awaken in a mysterious, shadowy realm, Purgatory, and learn that souls aren't being sent to their final resting place in the afterlife, so you take up a pair of guns to get to the bottom of the problem, and you may learn that the source is more closely tied to your past than you realize. It's an undeniably cool setting for a game and the writing does a good job of giving you enough detail while maintaining the curt, gruff vibe of an Old West cowboy adventure. Your character is also impeccably narrated by Ron Perlman, whose recognizable voice adds a perfect layer of gravitas to the story. In some instances it might have been nice to flesh out the worldbuilding a bit more, but in general minimalist approach works well in West of Dead. That philosophy kind of extends to the rest of the game's presentation as well. The visuals are highly stylized like a comic book page, drenched in harsh shadows and bright, jagged artwork. The effect looks great and also serves a gameplay purpose as enemies can hide in shadows and you'll need to light lanterns to reveal your targets. The music is appropriately Old West-y and tends to be understated too. The whistle and guitar audio while you're wandering from gunfight to gunfight definitely puts you in the right Wild West vibe. The gameplay combines twin-stick shooter mechanics and tactical cover usage with the random level design and deadly consequences of a roguelike. You'll start each playthrough with just a basic set of weapons and explore randomly generated rooms, each one filled with enemies, as you collect new guns, abilities, and stat upgrades to aid you on your quest. You'll also pick up a few permanent upgrades that allow you to explore a bit further and open up shortcuts to further customize your adventure. You can also spend the currency you collect—Sins from fallen enemies—to unlock other permanent boosts to make subsequent playthroughs a little easier. So while West of Dead is a roguelike, each playthrough still earns you progress toward a stronger gunslinger on the next run. The game also uses Old West guns to smart effect. These old fashioned pistols, rifles and shotguns don't have quick reload times, so you'll need to use cover intelligently to give yourself breathing room against groups of enemies. It's a simple but satisfying loop of popping up to shoot, ducking back to reload, and maybe rolling toward another piece of cover when the crate you're hiding behind is destroyed by enemies. This formula also lends itself to some intense but fun boss fights, though oftentimes the hardest parts of the game are when you have three or more enemies barreling down on you and you've got nowhere to hide. All that said, West of Dead's gameplay loop struggles to maintain speed from one playthrough to another. There isn't enough variety in each run to keep the game interesting for hours on end, perhaps partially because of how slow it is to unlock new guns and abilities with the Sin you collect. Even the added weapons and regions from the Path of the Crow expansion can't make the experience feel fresh and exciting after a few playthroughs. The actual shooting mechanics are fun but it wears thin far too quickly for a roguelike that expects you to replay it over and over. West of Dead: Path of the Crow combines the right elements of twin-stick shooters and roguelikes in a stylish Old West package, but doesn't quite nail the inherent replayability factor that is so vital to roguelikes. Each playthrough is a little too similar to maintain interest for too long, and the slow pace of unlocking new weapons can be a bit discouraging. It's a fun game for a while but maybe the roguelike formula wasn't the right fit. Rating: 7 out of 10 Sins
  23. Today marks 5 years since the Nintendo Switch released! Hard to believe the Switch is already 5 years old. Seems like just yesterday I got invited to that Switch Preview Event and picked up my Switch with BotW at my local GameStop's midnight launch, which I'm still rockn' After all these years the Switch is still a really cool system, with a ton of great games and even more on the way just this year. The big wow moment for me wasn't Breath of the Wild, but when I finally got Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I previously needed the Wii U to play it and now I could play it anywhere! Too bad this far in we still don't have folders or any new themes. I thought we would have at least gotten folders by now, because it's such a simple QoL feature. Why does Nintendo always have to start a square one when it comes to this (referring to how long it took the Wii U to get folders, when the 3DS had them)? Hopefully we at least get folders soon. What's your fav. memories with the Switch? Some highlights for me are... Getting invited to that Switch Preview Event (see link above). The launch of Breath of the Wild. Continuing our Mario Kat 8 night's (almost 10 years old) with MK8D.. The launch of Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate and all the DLC characters The launch of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and it exploding in popularity during lockdown. Tetris Effect finally coming to Switch. Watching the Switch grow in popularity, despite more powerful consoles being on the market. Watching the Switch explode as an indie platform.
  24. Beyond a Steel Sky is another blast-from-the-past franchise revival that feels particularly old fashioned thanks to its point-and-click adventure format. This a sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky, a 1994 adventure game set in a dystopian future. Thankfully players won't need to know all the details of the first game to play Beyond, but you'll definitely need a little patience for some of the genre's quirks. In this sci-fi futuristic setting, the world has been ravaged by conflict and humanity has largely consolidated into massive city states. Those less fortunate live in the wastelands between cities, called the Gap, in close-knit tribes. You play as Robert Foster, a Gaplander, who is spurred toward the massive city state Union City when a young child is kidnapped from his community. Robert was also the protagonist of the first game and there are plenty of little details that have carried over, but for the most part new players can jump right in. All you really need to know is that Robert is on a rescue mission in the seemingly idyllic Union City where not everything is as it seems. As a point-and-click adventure the storytelling is obviously hugely important in Beyond a Steel Sky, but the final product is incredibly uneven. The world-building and setting is fantastic: all of the details about Union City that you pick up paint a nicely detailed picture of a utopia being held up with duct tape and deceit. The actual personal story of Robert and the characters you encounter though is awfully flat. Robert is a frankly boring protagonist who, even during dramatic moments, is way too bland. Dialogue can be weirdly repetitive and a little tedious to get through, which is a huge problem in a story-driven game like this. The comedic beats are also not great—too much reliance on tired joke structures means you're not going to get laugh out loud moments, just awkward silences. Learning about the world of Beyond a Steel Sky is engaging, but the actual plot can be slow-paced and even boring at times. Like so many point-and-click adventures, there's a lot of running around to do as you collect a new task then scour every inch of the environment to find items or talk to NPCs to suss out clues about what to do. Despite its old fashioned origin there are actually very few tedious puzzles in Beyond a Steel Sky—you're never forced to figure out a complicated, illogical solution by just clicking on everything around you. The puzzles are pretty well constructed for the most part, and since most of the game takes place in self-contained areas there's not too much running back and forth. There are even a couple of standout puzzle sequences, such as when you're impersonating someone so you need to learn as much about him as you can very quickly. A lot of the game's puzzles revolve around a scanner item that you pick up early on. This device allows you to hack electronics and rewrite their programming, which you can use to open a locked door for example, or reroute a robot in its task loop. It's a fun concept but is perhaps used too much when all's said and done. The actual puzzles with the scanner don't evolve much so they can feel a little repetitive. Perhaps more importantly, when the solution so often involves the scanner it limits the "eureka" moments, when the solution finally clicks for you, that make puzzle games satisfying. Beyond the actual puzzles and puzzle mechanics, Beyond a Steel Sky also leaves a lot to be desired with how the game controls. Even while running Robert moves obnoxiously slowly. Highlighting the right object to interact with is clumsy when there's more than one item next to each other. Robert's movements are weirdly tank-like at times. Obviously this isn't a fast-paced, dexterous game, but little discomforts in the very way that you interact with the game can really weigh down the experience. The presentation is a mixed bag as well. There's a unique colorful style to the setting that is certainly striking, and the comic book influence adds a lot of personality. On a technical level though it lacks soul. The animation is a little too stiff to make the story moments engaging, and the little issues of pop-in on distant objects or low-res textures prevent the setting from fully coming to life. The voice acting is also a bit weird. There's some good work on display here and some colorful side characters but again the voices just don't have the energy that they need, especially for Robert whom you're going to hear the most. Beyond a Steel Sky is quite a mix of old and new. It's a sequel to an over 25 year old point-and-click adventure and yet manages to avoid the kinds of complicated puzzle pitfalls that made old-school games frustrating. And yet, at the same time it still has the slow, plodding pace that drains the energy from a truly interesting world setting, and the puzzles largely end up being a bit too repetitive. Worst of all though, the writing just isn't all that engaging in this story-driven game. Fans of its predecessor may enjoy seeing old friends again in Beyond a Steel Sky, but if you're new to the world that's not a lot to latch onto here. Rating: 5 out of 10 Skies
  25. In a brutal, Medieval-inspired landscape of war and conflict, one prince bears the heavy burden of the crown and fights against ruthless invaders who decimate his people. Also, the prince is a rat and the invaders are frogs. Tails of Iron pairs up unlikely, cartoonish artwork with a grim setting and fiendishly difficult combat system that demands precision and patience. The effect is undeniably unique though certainly not for the faint of heart. You play as Redgi, prince of the Rat Kingdom who awakens on what should be a joyous day. Your father the king has planned a test of combat to prove your worthiness to inherit the throne, but just as you succeed the kingdom is brutally attacked by your people's longtime nemesis, the Frog Clan. Now you'll have to rebuild your forces and fight back against the powerful invaders as well as any other threats that challenge your kingdom. Telling this gritty story with adorable little animal folk is an odd but charming formula. However, that really only applies to the broad worldbuilding. The characters in the game are all pretty one-note, largely because the animals don't talk, they only communicate with little pictograms. Instead there is a narrator who will come in and basically explain everything the characters have just said, which comes off as a weird blend of concepts. Either stick to just pictographs and keep directions/storytelling simple enough that they communicate what needs to be said or just use the narrator—both makes for an awkward middleground of over-explaining ideas while also providing no character depth. Tails of Iron is a side-scrolling action-RPG, though the RPG elements are really just collecting equipment (Redgi never levels up throughout the game). There's a heavy emphasis on precise combat here. Your attacks are fairly slow and basic so you have to strike carefully, especially since you can't hit-stun enemies and you can inadvertently slide past them if you're not positioning yourself well. You also have to be thoughtful about when you attack: some attacks can be parried which allows you to get some hits in while others are unblockable so you have to dodge out of the way. There's a helpful indicator that pops up whenever an enemy attacks letting you know to parry or dodge, but you still need lightning fast reflexes to respond accordingly, so a big part of the game is learning each type of enemy's attack patterns. The downside is that so often you're just waiting for enemies to attack in order to find a small opening, which makes battles reactionary and a bit tedious—even fairly basic enemies require this slow, measured approach. There are some strategic elements to combat though. Your equipment not only improves your attack and defensive stats, it also adds weight which makes your attacks slower. Do you want to load up on the strongest equipment and be a slow, heavy hitter or will you risk it with lighter armor and faster attacks? Ultimately though there's not a wild difference between speed or strength builds, not unless you're using extremely basic, light equipment late in the game. The three weapon types—spears, swords, axes—also feature slight speed differences but again it's not significant enough to make choosing your equipment feel engaging. You'll find a ton of equipment throughout the game but there's not much incentive to play around with different builds, which is a shame. The setting of Tails of Iron is sprawling but not actually too big, and exploration is overall fairly linear. That's not a terrible thing but when side quests keep sending you to the same areas it does get a bit repetitive. Furthermore, "side quest" is a bit of a misnomer. These quests are actually required to progress the game thanks to the gold they reward you with; you can just choose what order to tackle them in. A bit more depth to the game world and actual optional moments would have been nice. Tails of Iron should last you around eight hours, which feels like a good length for the adventure. If there were more variety in enemies and equipment it could have sustained itself longer, but as it is the combat gets pretty repetitive by the end of the game, aside from the extra-challenging boss fights that will likely require plenty of retries to conquer. There's some light post-game content as well as different difficulty levels to tackle if you want to see everything the game has to offer. Although the characters themselves are pretty cute little cartoon rats, the aesthetic of the game certainly matches the grim story being told. Heavy shadows and thick, dark outlines make for a gloomy, bleak setting appropriate for the grisly deaths happening on screen. Again, it's a bit odd to have such brutal scenes carried out by tiny animals that move with a charming paper-doll-like animation, but the contrast certainly makes it feel unique. The soundtrack certainly skews toward the more serious tone with ominous background music when you're exploring murky caves and brighter but still not excessively cartoony music in town. Tails of Iron is an odd but engaging mix of cute animal characters and tough as nails combat, which really just raises the question of who is the target audience here. And even if you do appreciate a precise, difficult battle system you're left with fairly limited options in terms of attack variety or approaches to enemies. If you're willing to challenge yourself though, Tails of Iron is a unique experience and rescuing the rat kingdom through hard-fought battles is certainly gratifying. Rating: 7 out of 10 Rats
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