Ollie Barder Avatar Image

Ollie Barder


Favorite Games:
  • Cyber Troopers Virtual On
  • Super Metroid
  • Ico

81 games reviewed
82.3 average score
80 median score
54.3% of games recommended

Ollie Barder's Reviews

I cover gaming and pop-culture in Japan for Forbes. I also founded and continue to manage the mecha gaming site, Mecha Damashii. I have over a decade’s worth of games industry experience, having worked in both publishing and game development, and am currently working in the Tokyo games industry. In my limited spare time I do mecha related toy reviews for a variety of places.
Feb 13, 2024

Overall, this is a good PC port of the first Dragon Quest Builders but has some weird design changes taken from the second game that take away from what originally made this game so special. If you have no other option than to pick up the PC version, you will definitely enjoy yourself, but it’s sadly not as good as the PlayStation 4 and Switch versions.

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Jan 24, 2024

Overall though The Legend of Steel Empire is a solid release and visually updates a classic steampunk shmup that pretty much everyone loves. Even if you never played the original, this is still a lot of fun and perfectly suited to something like the Switch.

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5 / 10.0 - Custom Mech Wars
Dec 13, 2023

Overall, Custom Mech Wars is a mediocre mecha game that gets the customization somewhat right but fails on dealing with how the combat should work. While the Earth Defense Force games have their low budget infused charm, they are at least fun to play. Custom Mech Wars sadly lacks this redeeming feature and is just an arduous chore.

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Nov 22, 2023

Overall, this is a great collection of both important and genuinely great Irem shmups. The inclusion of Image Fight II is also great, as that was previously only available on the WiiU. However, both the original Image Fight and X-Multiply make this collection worth picking up for anyone that is a serious fan of shmups.

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Overall, Grendizer is a solid game with a clear love and passion for its classic super robot source material. It’s also very much meant for fans of Grendizer, otherwise much of its appeal and charm will be lost. It also clearly needed more time for polish and general graphical optimization. That said, it still plays decently with these shortcomings and is worth a look for those that want to pilot an old school super robot.

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Oct 18, 2023

Overall though, Super Mario Wonder is an excellent 2D platformer. With excellent level design, polished visuals and mad Wonder Flower setpieces. It’s not my favorite Super Mario game in recent years, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

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7 / 10.0 - Sonic Superstars
Oct 17, 2023

Overall, while there are faults with the game’s multiplayer, this is still a good Sonic the Hedgehog game. If you stick with the singleplayer on your own, you will definitely have fun with it. However, I do hope the next 2D Sonic game is one that uses pixel art in the same manner as Sonic Mania.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Taito Milestones 2
Sep 3, 2023

Overall, Taito Milestones 2 follows nicely on from the first release. It includes even more excellent games and does a nice job of encapsulating Taito’s long and influential gaming history into one neat little package.

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Aug 23, 2023

Overall, Armored Core VI is a proper mecha action game. It’s not the best game in the series, but it is solidly done. The new target assist setup works fine and is also able to be turned off if need be. The story and localization are great, and very much inline with the Japanese dialogue for the first time in the series’ history. It’s also definitely a return to form for the Armored Core series, but the never-ending boss fights do take away from the decent mission structure and pacing, especially later in the game. However, for someone like me that’s been playing Armored Core games for over 25 years, it’s nice that this series is back and finally being given a proper chance to shine

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Jul 23, 2023

So if you ever wondered what made the Ray series of shmups so special, then this collection should hopefully help you with that, along with an abundance of homing lasers.

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Overall, Tears of the Kingdom is a genuine improvement and evolution over Breath of the Wild.

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Apr 23, 2023

Overall, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is an excellent collection and remake of a pair of highly regarded Game Boy Advance strategy games. This game may look cute and simple in terms of its artstyle, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth in terms of its technical and exacting strategy-based gameplay.

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Overall, Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe is a very nice remaster of a solid Wii game that had a great deal of affection from longtime players of the series back in the day. This remaster also runs very well on the Switch and is definitely worth picking up if you are a Kirby fan. However, if you are new to Kirby and want to experience the best of its 2D offerings, then I would have to recommend Planet Robobot instead.

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Feb 20, 2023

Overall, Octopath Traveler II is an excellent sequel to the endearing and much loved first game. It doesn’t offer up anything all that new in the gameplay department, but all the new characters and their stories are nicely engaging, as is the excellent combat.

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Feb 14, 2023

Overall, Metroid Prime Remastered is an astonishingly accurate remake of a definitive gaming classic. Not only in terms of its excellent visuals but also how it plays nearly identically to the original. Even for a game that’s now over two decades old, Metroid Prime still feels as fresh and as functionally relevant as ever. If only more modern first-person games had level design as good as this.

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9 / 10.0 - Sonic Frontiers
Nov 7, 2022

Overall, Sonic Frontiers takes the lovable blue hedgehog into new open world territory, while staying true to how Sonic should feel in a functional sense. There’s also a lot to unpack here, so don’t take on too much at once and just go with the high-speed flow.

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9 / 10.0 - Bayonetta 3
Oct 27, 2022

Overall, Bayonetta 3 delivers a frantically intense approach to “stylish combat”, with a complex and multi-layered combat system that has remained remarkably robust across each game in the series. While the presentation is hugely over the top, Bayonetta 3’s real worth is in how it plays and as such comes thoroughly recommended to anyone that can keep up.

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Aug 25, 2022

Overall, SD Gundam Battle Alliance is a solid mecha game and one that shows how far Artdink has come since their PlayStation Portable days. It’s also a very accessible game in terms of its controls and combat, which the cute approach only helps to accentuate.

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Jul 31, 2022

Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is arguably the best game in the series and builds upon the prior entries in both a deft and quite magnificent way.

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8 / 10.0 - Sonic Origins
Jun 26, 2022

Overall, Sonic Origins is an excellent collection of games to introduce newer players to what made Sonic the Hedgehog so interesting and unique. However, after Sonic Mania it does feel a bit of a step down with the reduced difficulty.

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