Wayward Strand Review
Wayward Strand is a cute visual novel carried by its memorable characters and authentically written performances. It tells a simple story of a young girl who helps her mother take care of some elders at an old folks' home. It’s a very simple game with not a lot to say, but what it does say is very heartwarming. I can’t deny the overall experience - while not always super engaging - was still relaxing. The tone can shift pretty abruptly since it takes place in a hospital, but the atmosphere is consistently light-hearted and hopeful. You play as Casey, a young aspiring journalist who doesn’t necessarily want to be surrounded by old people all day, but is going to do her best at helping. The sense of helping elders that have far more life experience but are now in a vulnerable deteriorating state is something that I haven't experienced in a game, and the interactive visual novel structure only elevates that feeling. The game also has a very specific NPC schedules that makes me wonder how a repeat play-through would look. In theory, you could just sit by the window and look at your notebook all day and the game would progress just the same.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners - Review
While some people may still feel disdain for the term “Cyberpunk” after the disastrous launch back in 2020, there is no denying that the universe, lore, and futurisms are very intriguing. The game has so many different locations, characters, and tech that are burned into my brain after playing when it originally launched. I was fortunate enough to have a PC that could run it at the time, and while of course there were plenty of glitches and bugs during my playthrough I still had a great time. Going back to the game now is an even better experience, as now most of the bugs have been fixed and quite a bit of new content has been added. It runs surprisingly well on Steam Deck at 30 fps, but I digress. I preface this review by detailing a little bit of my own attitude toward Cyberpunk because I think it had somewhat of an impact on the enjoyment I got out of Edgerunners, and it was not negative. Of course, you do not have to play Cyberpunk to get any enjoyment out of Edgerunners or vice versa. But the show does such a great job at recreating Night City that I could recognize environments from the game in every single episode. Studio Trigger has done an incredible job fully realizing every detail of Night City to a T. The Edgerunners story is also official cannon to the Cyberpunk universe, which gives an extra layer of depth to the game. Now when I go back and play it and see the landmarks I saw in the show, there's a completely different context. And I can’t think of another franchise that has done something similar. Sure you have Arcane, but that show mainly focuses on building the Legends and their characters.
Steam Deck First Impressions
After putting in my reservation a little too late last year, I finally got the (somewhat) brand new Steam Deck. I’ve been testing it out for a couple of days now, and I can already tell this is going to change how I play a lot of my games. This review is just my first impression of the device. Once I’ve had more time with it and have truly given it the portable experience, I will make a full review detailing the most important aspects if you’re considering reserving an order. Out of the box, the handheld fits perfectly in my hands for a 1.65 lbs device. At first glance, I was put off by the placement of the D-Pad and ABXY buttons like most people - but to my surprise - it doesn't feel weird. The left touchpad acts as a d-pad for most games anyways so it's not a big issue, but I think it would've made more sense to switch them around. But that's just me. Your mileage may vary.
2022 Indie Games You Should Really Try
2022 has indie game lovers eating right. I don’t know if it's because of the pandemic, or if it’s a coincidence that so many indie developers are pumping out top-of-the-line games every other week. At this point, I get more hyped for indie games and showcases than for AAA games that will most likely never live up to expectations. I wanted to make a list for anyone who thinks that “games aren't as fun as they used to be.” I promise you that you're just not looking hard enough, and that fault isn't even entirely on mainstream consumers. Most people who own a Switch are aware of the barrage of cheap indie titles on the eShop that look like malware, but most of the games I'm going to be mentioning can be found on Game Pass.
Midnight Fight Express Review
Midnight Fight Express was one of my most anticipated indie titles of this year. I learned about it after catching a trailer for it on YouTube, where I also found out that Eric Jacobus was heavily involved as a stunt man. I have been a fan of his work ever since I saw his fan-made Mario movie, which was a great introduction because he has consistently been doing really impressive stunt work since then. He was also the stunt man who did all of Kratos’ captures for God of War (2018). When Jacobus’s involvement was revealed in the trailer, I got the impression that this game was going to be something of a love letter to the action genre. After playing it I can confirm that there are a lot of homages to action movies and tropes. Most work in the favor of the game, as most of the writing is self-aware of these cliches that have existed in action media for decades. Over-the-top villains and the sheer variety of enemy types aim to make the tone of this game familiar, but it doesn't always pay off. Some writing gripes aside, Midnight Fight Express has a lot to love, particularly in the gameplay, animations, and humor.
Rumbleverse Review: Frustrating But Fun BR
The concept to put WWE-style wrestling in a battle royal format automatically sounded fun. And now that I’ve played it I can confirm that it works... most of the time. When I first started my review it was initially a lot more negative. The gameplay was just not clicking for me, and even when I was winning it didn't feel as engaging as it does for me now. While it eventually grew on me after spending more time with it, I was not feeling the game in the first few hours of play. This was mostly due to the 2-3 minute wait times to get into a match and the combat making me feel very frustrated. However, there are a lot of things I grew to appreciate - like how the classic “storm” or “circle” that are typically in BRs could be used to the player's advantage.
Our Roundup of the Pokemon Presents Presentation
This past Wednesday the Pokemon Company scooped out another fresh helping of updates. We were treated to a brand new trailer for the incoming Pokemon Scarlet and Violet for the Nintendo Switch. A bunch of updates for Pokemon Go, Pokemon Cafe Mix, and Pokemon Unite. All of this solidified that you won’t have to go far to find some new Pokecontent for the forseeable future.
Gordian Quest Review: A Deck Builder With Bottomless Depth
Gordian Quest is a densely-packed deck-building action RPG that never seems to run out of robust detail in its multitudes of gameplay features. And while the intricate - some might say convoluted - game mechanics might not be for everyone, those who enjoy card-based battling with a heavy dose of Dungeons and Dragon sim will find themselves, not overwhelmed, but rather engaged by the seemingly bottomless depth of the gameplay. There’s a lot about Gordian Quest that may have caused me to pass it by. To be quite honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of deck-building RPGs. I like CCGs/TCGs like Magic the Gathering and Ascension, and I like RPGs. Let’s not mix them up, ok? Or at least that’s been my attitude. A deck-building system in an RPG just always seemed like a lazy way to copy/paste in a cookie cutter card game and just hang a few character animations on top of it rather than building a REAL battle system. There’s also not much by way of story and character in the game - which I’ll discuss more in-depth later - and that’s usually a deal-breaker for me in a 30+ hour RPG. I need that story to sustain me for that long. I’m glad to say, though, that I was wrong about deck-building battle systems, and a LOT of hard work and dedication went into making Gordian Quest a lot of fun for players who love customizing, getting hyper-nerdy with their party-building, and long for a Dungeons and Dragons-style experience on your PC (or console in the future). And, because of this, not only will you not need an in-depth story, it would have actually gotten in the way.
Sifu Review: One of the Most Thrilling Fighting Games In Ages
Fighting games are typically hit or miss for me since, personally, I can’t ever find one that isn't either way too easy or way too complex. The “Arkham” style of 3rd person-action gameplay where you press x or square a bunch and then press a parry button as soon as you see the enemy telegraph their attacks always stood out to me as disguising itself as something badass, but actually is just really simple and it doesn't engage my brain. I preface this review with my own personal gripes with the fighting game genre to help the reader fully understand why I love Sifu so much. The rouge-lite elements that the entire combat loop is based around are so fine-tuned, making every single mechanic feed into the overall experience of learning how to overpower your opposition. Sifu is the game that I have been coming back to the most this year. Not Elden Ring, Fortnite, or Halo, but instead this AA-developed fighting game with only 5 levels. It's easily the most addictive out of the three, and I dont plan on stopping after this review either.