Justin Nation Avatar Image

Justin Nation

Windsor, PA

Favorite Games:
  • Mario Series
  • Civilization Series
  • Diablo Series

541 games reviewed
72.4 average score
75 median score
61.6% of games recommended

Justin Nation's Reviews

Strangely enough this isn't my first rodeo, back in the day I wrote for the N64HQ as well as a few other outlets on freelance gigs but then when the HQ closed I decided to step it up and started The 64 Source. As the first word of a follow-up system to the N64 began to swirl I then decided to venture out into completely new territory and started OperatioN2000, where I had very little regular reputable news to share. With no other options I decided create my own content focused on profiling key developers and their current relationship with Nintendo or "dream games" where I saw opportunities for Nintendo to dust off classics or recently-made games and do something new with them on improved hardware. This was all going pretty well until my wife and I decided to have our first child and I then decided that it was time to hang it up and focus on my family. As I closed down both sites I did decide to partner with Billy Berghammer, another former N64HQ writer, who had created his own site, PlanetN2000. We agreed to move over the relevant content from the older sites to his and on top of that I had taken a grad school class in programming in ColdFusion and decided to offer to code the front-end and back-end for a new version of his site. Through these efforts the newer and more complete Planet GameCube was born! While I would occasionally contribute to that site, helping do things like working out Louie the Cat doing rumors and other odd things, I eventually decided to stop as my family obligations grew. While I had continued to follow Nintendo through both the Wii and Wii U eras my TV time was limited enough that I began playing more PC games again. It is in the PC space that I began to play a number of independent games and they started to be the games I enjoyed the most. Between their lower price, their often less traditional gameplay and approach, and their great variety I was hooked! With the launch of the Nintendo Switch I was already excited by the possibilities. The portability factor alone meant that I would have far more options and places I could play away from the TV, and games like Breath of the Wild looked impressive. With my oldest daughter poised to start her senior year in high school and my youngest finishing out junior high I started to see an opportunity to get back into amateur games journalism once again with what is now Nintendo World Report as well but I'd initially just thought about writing some editorials periodically. Then, right before the launch of the system, Nintendo had their Nindie-focused presentation and I saw my two most beloved gaming worlds colliding. The games I had been playing on my PC could now be played in a portable way and on Nintendo hardware! Being the type who tends to work against the normal current the concept behind Nindie Spotlight was born!
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2 / 10.0 - Deep Ones
Apr 13, 2018

Odd pacing, limited and sluggish control, janky enemy movement, and frustration are all pretty well constants in this title which makes no sense given its appearance that can’t be consuming more than a fraction of the system’s power. For whatever merits it could possibly have it is simply an exercise in aggravation to play and has pretty well nothing to really enjoy. This offends me on a few levels, both in terms of the perception people may walk away with about indie games but also what they may think about the quality of games from the age of the Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum that the graphics in Deep Ones mimics. Regardless of the comparatively primitive graphics games may have had in that era even then this would have still been an awful game. If you still are interested in the title be sure to check out the available demo first and be really sure you want to waste your time, let alone your money, on it.

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Nov 26, 2017

Even at the very modest price being asked on the Switch eShop for this game right now I can’t recommend it. I like its looks and sounds, and the puzzle mechanic seems novel enough to occupy yourself with for a few hours. Unfortunately the forced touchscreen controls are implemented so wonkily that it gives you nothing but aggravation once nuance is called for pretty early on in the game. If the game is patched and this is changed, with the controls being precise, I hope to give it a more thorough review but for now I’d avoid it.

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Jan 6, 2018

As you may have gathered I’m not at all a fan of Rock ‘N Racing Grand Prix and I absolutely cannot recommend it to anyone as it gets the fundamentals of a racing game so wrong. On pretty well every critical level the game is lacking, provoking more frustration than anything else when trying to play it. This is a game that probably wouldn’t even be fit to be scrapped for parts.

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Sep 13, 2017

In its current state I really can’t recommend 36 Fragments of Midnight at all. When it is an endurance game and there’s any control-oriented inconsistency or obstacle all I can imagine is people sinking their time into something that they can’t ultimately control their own success in. With some patching to improve the situation it would at least move the game up a bit, but still nothing would stop it from being merely mediocre. In the end it is what it is and you could spend some quick bursts of time on it and have a little fun, just even in that area there are generally more compelling titles than this one on the Switch.

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3.5 / 10.0 - Harvest Life
Nov 29, 2018

I hate having to compare Harvest Life to Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon or any other game of this type because I feel like it harms them by association. While I rarely get on a tear about games because I worry about being unfair, Harvest Life just offends me because the games that inspired this one are just so much better by both ambition and execution than this. Nobody should be settling for a game like this in a library of choices as vast and full of quality as there is on the Switch. Even if you’ve burned through Stardew and other games like it already and are thirsting for that next fix, this game simply isn’t worth your money or your time.

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3.5 / 10.0 - Shadow of Loot Box
Nov 8, 2018

I believe that the intent is to make a satirical point and goof on that state of the industry but there’s nothing clever or insightful here, only bland and generic levels with very little to do and next to zero entertainment value of any kind. Satire and higher-order humor typically works to mock the subject of ridicule by running circles around it in some way by showing wit or subverting expectations (where are you The Stanley Parable?). In this case the game simply seems to wallow in mediocrity and then half-heartedly attempt to justify that by claiming that’s meant to be clever comedy.

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3.5 / 10.0 - Vaccine
Jul 7, 2017

I appreciate the fact that some elements of this game are purposely set up to be true to the vision of Resident Evil, which this is obviously inspired by. I also get that there will be people who, despite the game's failings, will thoroughly enjoy it and be engaged by the action loop it offers. However, given the wildly inconsistent nature of it (even by roguelike standards), the issues with items being so critical and yet so complicated at times, and the fact that handheld mode is likely not going to be a great idea overall it's hard to recommend without a substantial number of qualifiers. As noted, I think with some balancing and changing up pieces of the formula the overall experience could improve if tweaks are made but not knowing what the plans are I can only score the game based on what was provided.

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Nov 3, 2017

Overall Monster Jam: Crush It is a hot mess of a game that is coming to eShop in a state that’s simply baffling. While on paper the license mixed with the various modes sounds like a lot of fun the execution of not just the graphics but the overall gameplay makes it feel more like a game from a previous generation… and I’m not only talking about the previous one. It’s really hard not to believe that this has been slapped together and is being sent out to market to simply ride on the assumption that Monster Truck fans, and more likely their parents, will buy it on sight. That’s a shame and especially when you throw the $40 asking price onto the package Crush It is a disappointment.

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3.5 / 10.0 - NORTH
Mar 6, 2018

While the themes and subject matter the game is supposed to be trying to tackle are interesting the implementation of the product itself is poor without question. There are absolutely brilliantly-told stories using simple mechanics, a few that I’ve reviewed recently, that prove you can do a lot with a little. Unfortunately North’s ambitions didn’t extend to its execution, leaving instead a forgettable mess trying very hard to make a point.

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Nov 12, 2017

Keeping in mind the budget price of admission Rock ‘N Racing Off-Road DX is a tough one to call. It makes fair attempts at providing some variety with multiple track layouts mixed with jumps and uneven terrain but at the same time racing physics being tricky at times can make for unintended challenges. While there is likely an element of personal taste to control in the 5 vehicles I found that the Highlander class (the first you’ll unlock) to be far superior to most everything else in terms of overall performance and handling. It may just take some tweaks but collisions are inevitable in the game and can royally screw you up, more than I’d expect. This can detract from some of the fun of the tracks that overlap themselves and that’s a shame. While there are some positives to be had in the game it’s also quirky enough that it’s tough to recommend.

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