Michelle Balsan


9 games reviewed
74.4 average score
75 median score
44.4% of games recommended
Scores 2.6 higher than average

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TrueAchievements
Michelle Balsan

Here's the deal with Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: As a single-player experience, the game drags. While your AI companion is actually helpful and surprisingly competent, having to man the ship on your own is a cumbersome and sometimes boring experience. The game takes on a whole different spin when a second person is involved, becoming a rewarding romp where players can celebrate successfully completing their shared goals. As a game meant for a couch co-op experience, it checks the right boxes and then-some as the two of you work to replace the anti-love in the room with something more positive, like love or perhaps a high-five. If playing on your own is the way you tend to roll, however, you'll still enjoy the game's presentation, but the luster of what moves this game from good to great territory will sadly not be present.

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TrueAchievements
Michelle Balsan
Aug 6, 2015

For all of Q.U.B.E's emulation of Portal it does manage to stand on its own as a first-person puzzle game worthy of your time. The puzzle mechanics are solid and the way in which the game gradually introduces you to the various elements of its gameplay are expertly done. The theme of isolation is also well-crafted, and the story plays out quite well despite the minimalist presentation. Much like the other quality games of this genre, Q.U.B.E. manages to not out-stay its welcome, and is smart with its inclusion of hidden puzzles and an additional mode of play to increase gameplay time. Fans of Portal will find a lot to like here (just don't expect the irreverent humor), and those looking for another game to scratch that particular itch will be very pleased. Further, the game's story presents some thought-provoking questions about the nature of isolation that add to an already solid package.

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Michelle Balsan
Jul 24, 2015

No Time to Explain is going to be a love-it-or-hate-it type title for most people because it is unapologetically difficult. If you enjoy those ultra difficult games and the challenge they provide, you'll love this. Otherwise you just won't. When I started the game I was frustrated by the frequent deaths and seeming lack of direction. As I played on, however, my attitude changed. The laser gun being used as a mode of transport is generally fine, but sometimes it's a little finicky, and this can lead to undue frustration in an area where precision is really required. As you stick with it, you learn how to better finesse the use of the laser beam and get that feeling of satisfaction for completing something difficult that many games don't supply. If the thought of dying frequently is a turn off for you, the game will only prove to be frustrating. If you enjoy games that bring the difficulty, this is a top-level game for you to grab and brag to all your friends about once you complete it.

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Michelle Balsan
Jun 24, 2015

Steamworld Dig is refreshing against many other [email protected] games because it feels like a fully realized concept with a well defined beginning, middle, and end (well, and cliffhanger if we're being technical). While the slow trek to get upgrades may occasionally feel frustrating, they are, in actuality, extremely well-paced, it just may be difficult to get that sense until having the benefit of looking back on the experience as a whole. The game's only really major drawback is that it doesn't do much in the way of boss fights - new areas are just unlocked via progress, which is fine, but a big battle before entering the different areas would have given the game just a little more. It's a compliment to the developers, however, that the inclusion of more boss monsters is not a 'need', but rather a 'want' that would only serve to improve an already enjoyable experience. When all is said and done, in the great landscape of all the games available on Xbox One, SteamWorld Dig is a jewel that will make you feel your efforts to discover it was well worth your time. SteamWorld Dig is worth every bit of its $9.99 asking price.

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Michelle Balsan
May 29, 2015

Like many [email protected] games, Mega Coin Squad's initial tactic is to draw gamers in with nostalgia by making the level select look just like the level select in Super Mario World that is so easily recognizable. Comparisons to games of yesteryear end there, however, as what Mega Coin Squad boils down to is a repetitive, largely uninspired campaign that can be dashed through in under a half hour. There is some fun to be had in the campaign, and even more so to be found in the Multiplayer, but considering many people who will be checking in here for thoughts on the game either play with achievements in mind or don't have a second controller, the MP doesn't do enough to push the game above "it's just ok" status. As a mobile game at a low price, Mega Coin Squad would be a good grab and nice-little diversion for thirty minutes or less. As a full-fledged ID title commanding a $15 price tag, the game doesn't deliver enough for most people to find it worth the investment. If you have local friends to play with, that will boost your enjoyment of it and its longevity. Otherwise, unless you're a big fan of platformers with randomly generated parts, this one can easily be skipped.

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TrueAchievements
Michelle Balsan

"The Consequence" has many things working in its favor. We definitely get a much better sense of Kidman's motivation, what exactly the limits of her loyalty are, and to whom that loyalty lies. The presentation is also top notch and continues the feeling from "The Assignment" that the content was not simply cut from the disc and then released later to make some extra money. "The Consequence" does run shorter than "The Assignment", and the inclusion of gunplay does hurt this expansion somewhat. Despite this, if you enjoyed The Evil Within and "The Assignment", this is a must-have, and the combined weight of "The Assignment" and "The Consequence" makes purchasing the Season Pass for the game a very easy investment.

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Michelle Balsan
Apr 10, 2015

Tower of Guns comes across as a real labor of love from Joe Mirabello, who even went so far as to add a thank you to his special someone, Colleen, in the game. For me, it followed a pretty well defined bell curve - at the start of the game, I was pretty sure I didn't like it and wouldn't like it. Then, as I opened up more guns and began to actually understand the type of game I was playing - a roguelike FPS - I really began to enjoy it. Finally, as I eventually fully completed a run of the tower and got into my twentieth run or so, my interest began to wane. The Endless and Diceroll modes, as well as playing around with perks, will lengthen the game experience some, but by that point, you will have seen most of what it has to offer. The game looks good, plays completely fine, and is a solid package for what it is. More variety in terms of, well, everything, would have made it even more appealing. If you go into the game thinking of the typical roguelike, where you're bound to sink tons of hours into it in the hopes of getting that amazing loot drop, Tower of Guns will fall flat. If you want a well tuned, mindless FPS with roguelike elements, however, this game is a good one and is a lot of fun in short bursts.

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TrueAchievements
Michelle Balsan

If you enjoyed The Evil Within, "The Assignment" offers plenty of bang for your buck and definitely leaves you anticipating what more is to come in the second expansion, which will also focus on Kidman, "The Consequence".

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Michelle Balsan
Feb 18, 2015

Blue Estate doesn't try to reinvent rail shooters, but it's very good at being one, and the challenge of getting top ranks on everything will keep players wanting to come back for more.

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