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Joanna Nelius

PennyDeath

Favorite Games:
  • What Remains of Edith Finch
  • Life is Strange
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

29 games reviewed
72.4 average score
75 median score
58.6% of games recommended
Scores 7.9 higher than average

Joanna Nelius's Reviews

Joanna is a recent addition to the Marooners' Rock reviews team and former Lead Reviews for OnlySP. She loves games that read like a novel and plays as much sci-fi and horror she can get her hands on.
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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
6 / 10.0 - Mulaka
May 20, 2018

Fantasy stories have had their fill of the stereotypical creatures and heroes. Elves, orcs, mages, dwarves, warriors, kings, fairies — they’re all a dime a dozen. Similarly, the stories of Greek and Roman gods have been told and retold over and over again. But before playing Mulaka, I had never heard of the Tarahumara, an indigenous people of northwestern Mexico renowned for their long-distance running ability. Being introduced to that culture via this imaginative 3D action-adventure proved there are still new and rich fantasy worlds out there to explore.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
4.4 / 10.0 - Past Cure
Mar 19, 2018

Past Cure is full of promise. With a premise of mystery and intrigue, and haunting visuals, it’s no fault of anyone who starts this game thinking they will be transported into an action-packed thriller. Sadly, Past Cure is marred with monotone voice acting, unfocused game design, and writing that tries too hard. There are loads of great ideas, but they don’t fit together in a way that is satisfying and fun.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
Feb 2, 2018

The Red Strings Club perfectly taps into the classic, underdog tales that permeated 80s cyberpunk literature. While the imagery in this game is less gritty than stories like "Johnny Mnemonic" or "El Pepenador," it takes the same deep philosophical approach about the future of humanity that has always been cyberpunk's trademark—and what a glorious tale the strings weave in this game.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
7 / 10.0 - Hand of Fate 2
Jan 17, 2018

The Dealer is back from the netherworld, ready to challenge anyone brave (or foolish) enough to sit down and play his game. Hand of Fate 2 brings many beloved elements from the first game, like The Dealer’s signature insults, with a few tweaks here and there to create a smoother, more intricate sequel. Half rougelike, half deck-building card game, Hand of Fate 2 keeps the same mechanics in place that make it so unique, but it’s not a game for everyone.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius

Hell is Empty was satisfying in the sense that it delivered something out of the pages of a crime drama, but as far as keeping continuity with itself and with the original game, the episode left much to be desired. These first two episodes leave such a strong emotional resonance that stick around long after they end and, unfortunately, episode three isn't on par.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius

Life is Strange: Before the Storm delivers another emotionally-charged episode in its second installment, Brave New World, hitting all the right narrative beats to set up players for a grueling journey in episode three—even if it's saving many key elements that tie into the original game for the final episode.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
8 / 10.0 - Hob
Oct 18, 2017

Hob is a rare gem. It has mass appeal, regardless of preferred genre or style. It’d be hard to come out of the experience of playing and not loving at least one thing about the game. I didn’t have a full understanding of the conflict of this world at the beginning, yet the sheer beauty of it compelled me forward. I didn’t understand who the protagonist was or why the robot friend was so gallant, but it sacrificed a piece of itself to save the protagonist—that’s enough of a reason to finish the journey and help put the world back in order.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
Oct 11, 2017

There are several mechanical issues that make the game annoying to play on occasion, but not enough to break the game altogether. Those who are looking for compelling characters and a rich story might be disappointed, but those who like simple, mafia-type adventures and steampunk might be satisfied. EMPYRE: Lords of the Sea Gates is an easy entry into the isometric RPG genre for newcomers, but has enough interesting features for those familiar with the genre to consider checking it out.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius
7.2 / 10.0 - Planet of the Eyes
Sep 27, 2017

In all, Planet of the Eyes is by all accounts a carefully crafted game. It’s clear that the developers put a lot of time and thought into everything from the art, to the narration, to the gameplay. But its greatest shortcoming is that it’s not a longer game. The game provides a satisfying experience overall, but not the emotional resonance. At the same time, however, there is beauty in its subtle narrative. How you feel about the game will come down to this: if you are a novel-person or a short story-person.

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Marooners' Rock
Joanna Nelius

Chloe is me. She’s you. She’s so many other teens of today and throughout time. She is one of the most fully-realized characters in modern video games, and I can’t wait to see what the next episode has in store for her and Rachel.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius

But your immediate problem is not an angry client who did not receive his plasma cutter on time; a ship crash lands on your property. Inside is one broken robot and two surprises that throw your entire view of the world into chaos. Police immediately surround the area and close in to disintegrate you — you have seen too much. An EVP grenade falls from… you’re not sure where, overloading the circuits of the police and yourself. What follows is a surprising turn of events that sends you on an impromptu investigation to explore different parts of the city to help a small band of rebel robots whose primary function is to discover “the truth.”

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
Sep 26, 2016

The overzealous difficulty of Fallout 4′s DLCs is no exception this time around; the Nuka World radio signal won’t auto-trigger until you are at least level 30. Don’t start at level 30. Just don’t. If you haven’t hit at least level 50 by now, take the time to get there; the unbalanced level-scaling that gave Automatron and Far Harbor their “quirks” is back to kill your stash of stimpacks and ammo. Combine that with a narrative that lacks depth and meaningful decisions, Nuka World might fall below your expectations, but still provides many hours of game play to unlock a plethora of secrets and rewards.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
Sep 6, 2016

For a 2D puzzle-platformer, the levels are naturally integrated into the environment – and one of the most naturally integrated that I have ever seen in any game of the same genre. Utilizing the changing seasons to its advantage, Seasons After Fall feels less like a traditional platformer and more like an innovation, jumping from tree branch to vine, frozen geyser to snowball, all the while bending the seasons to your command. The narrative and setting aren’t built around the level design, but rather the design enhances the narrative and setting, allowing for a gorgeous and immersive experience.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
Aug 27, 2016

You’ll navigate your way through twisted hallways of heavy machinery, elevators, and a few monsters and monstrosities. What little glimpses you get of the world above, they are nothing more than big teases. You want out? Nope, sorry. You’re stuck in a quarry. Oh, you really want out? We’re going to lock every single exit to the surface. It would be appropriate to place a placard at the entrance to the mine that read “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
9 / 10.0 - Abzu
Aug 2, 2016

One of the most amazing moments is coming around a bend or emerging through a tunnel into a large open area with buildings and more sea life as far as the eye can see. The music swells to an apex, climbing from a happy urgency to a grand revelation.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
7 / 10.0 - 35MM
Jun 3, 2016

35MM might start off at a slow pace – a really slow pace – but under-the-radar character and story development, and unsettling action sequences build to a climactic revelation that will make you feel sorry for even thinking about not finishing the game.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
May 25, 2016

The radioactive fog gives Far Harbor a different feel from the Commonwealth. The mood is too sinister to just call it gloomy. While the island is infested with new mutants, there is no need for one to hide in every dark shadow when the fog will slowly poison you to death.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
May 18, 2016

I’m not the most strategically-minded person, but a shoot-first-ask-questions-later kind of gal. I just want to run in, guns blazing, and figure it out from there. Tutorials? Who has time for that? Offworld Trading Company said I did, and they not only sat me down and made me pay attention, but they did it in a way that didn’t leave me confused at the end.

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
9.5 / 10.0 - P.O.L.L.E.N
May 9, 2016

P.O.L.L.E.N makes use of its subtle, narrative details masterfully, seamlessly integrating them into the alternate, sci-fi world. It’s not enough to find a couple of cassette tapes and charge through to the end. From post-it notes on white boards, to TIME Magazines, to personal drawings tucked away in a character’s closet, every detail is carefully selected to bring depth to the characters and do some world-building in the process

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OnlySP
Joanna Nelius
Apr 25, 2016

It was my mistake; I followed a path that I was sure would help the rebellion's cause by abandoning my friend Lapino and, instead, going on a quest to find the ultimate weapon to defeat the Empire. Things didn't go as planned, and I accidentally destroyed the entire world. But then I was alive again.

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