Bryan Lawver

Los Angeles

Favorite Games:

26 games reviewed
72.7 average score
70 median score
30.8% of games recommended
Scores 2.9 higher than average

Writes for:
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GamingTrend
Bryan Lawver
70 / 100 - Wargroove
Feb 6, 2019

Wargroove has the confidence to stick to simple, familiar gameplay with a few twists, rather than try to wow you with its novelty. While its charming graphics might make it look cute, it offers a vicious challenge that gets a bit uneven at times. If you get into its slower pace and high difficulty, it also offers plenty of alternate game modes and custom campaign creation tools to extend the fun.

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Bryan Lawver
60 / 100 - Vane
Jan 15, 2019

Vane lets players shift from the form of a bird to a child as they explore a strange, hallucinatory world set to a fantastic synth soundtrack. But what starts as a liberating flight through a vast desert eventually devolves into a linear trek through cramped corridors. Vane is a strange, haunting game that deserves attention, but it abandons its most interesting ideas too early on.

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Bryan Lawver
65 / 100 - Fitness Boxing
Jan 14, 2019

Fitness Boxing doesn't have a lot of features to speak of, but it does provide a solid workout. Its exercise routines are challenging and enjoyable enough, despite their atrocious background music. Fitness Boxing isn't going to be the most fun game on your Switch, but it's worth checking out if you need a little extra motivation to get your heart rate up.

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Bryan Lawver
70 / 100 - Bladed Fury
Jan 11, 2019

Bladed Fury doesn't break any new ground, but it's got its 2D hack and slash fundamentals down to a science. Its beautiful hand-drawn art style and great enemy designs bring its mythological rendition of ancient China to life, even when its story fails to.

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Bryan Lawver
80 / 100 - Bury me, my Love
Jan 10, 2019

Using only text messages, Bury me, my Love develops two relatable main characters and tells the engaging story of a Syrian woman's search for refuge in Europe after her sister is killed in a bombing. The game rewards multiple playthroughs with its compelling writing and interesting storylines, though replaying the same passages can be tedious.

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Bryan Lawver
85 / 100 - Ashen
Dec 30, 2018

Ashen uses the Souls-like formula to tell a very different, optimistic story about community. Whether you're playing alone, with an AI companion, or with another person, combat with the game's varied enemies and bosses is challenging and satisfying. Ashen's world feels real and lived-in, and getting to carve out your own settlement and watch it prosper is truly satisfying.

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Bryan Lawver
75 / 100 - BELOW
Dec 19, 2018

Below is a dark, mysterious game that invites you to illuminate its secrets, then punishes you for trying. While it does a great job invoking a sense of wonder, thanks in part to its sparse, tense soundtrack, its genuinely great moments are spread far too thin. Below will certainly be a divisive game, but it offers a compelling experience for players willing to put up with a good amount of frustration and tedium.

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Bryan Lawver
85 / 100 - Book of Demons
Dec 13, 2018

Book of Demons introduces a unique card-based skill system and a sense of humor to the stuck-in-its-ways ARPG genre. It has plenty of tricks in its dungeon to keep you on your toes, but gives you ample ways to form your own strategy. With three distinct classes and an endlessly replayable quest, you can get lost in Book of Demons' papercut dungeon for quite a while.

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Bryan Lawver
100 / 100 - GRIS
Dec 13, 2018

Gris is an incredible achievement, using its art, music, and gameplay to tell a thematically consistent story about a woman overcoming her grief. Despite the weighty subject matter, the way its protagonist's triumph over sorrow is reflected in increasingly fluid and diverse platforming makes it a joy to play. While Gris is low on challenge and impossible to fail, it still feels exciting. Even if it doesn't sound like your kind of game, Gris absolutely deserves a try.

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Bryan Lawver
65 / 100 - Desert Child
Dec 11, 2018

At its best, Desert Child captures the feeling of working toward a big dream while struggling to even buy your next meal. Unfortunately, those moments come sandwiched between a lot of repetition as the initially fun races become a chore that you have to do over and over again. Desert Child's unique setting, filled out with great art and a killer soundtrack, is fun to explore for a while, but the game runs out of gas a little too quickly.

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Bryan Lawver
Dec 4, 2018

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden's blend of turn-based tactical combat with stealth is interesting, but not always successful, and its story doesn't take advantage of its unique setting. Although the ability to explore the world and sneak up on enemies adds a fun twist to the genre, it brings unwelcome complications and technical hiccups as well. I also ran into numerous performance issues, including game-ending freezes, that strained my initial fondness for the game.

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Bryan Lawver
Nov 23, 2018

Pathfinder: Kingmaker sets up an epic story, expansive world, difficult combat, and lively characters, but all these elements eventually become tiresome. Its unforgiving difficulty and strict adherence to Pathfinder tabletop rules will likely turn away more players than it attracts, and while its kingdom management sim sets it apart from similar RPGs, no part of the game ever feels wholly original. Despite boldly putting players in the role of a king or queen, it never engages enough with the consequences of your decisions, or whether you have the right to make them at all.

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Bryan Lawver

Cybarian: The Time Travelling Warrior is a difficult, often frustrating retro action platformer that values its old-school aesthetic over all else. Everything from its graphics and sound to its difficulty and controls recall an earlier era of gaming, but it does nothing to expand on that legacy. Players looking for a challenge may take some pride in conquering Cybarian, but its short playtime and mostly empty levels leave very little to sink your teeth into.

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Bryan Lawver
75 / 100 - Moonlighter
Nov 11, 2018

Moonlighter's original conceit blends shopkeeping with monster-slaying in a way that's satisfying for most of its length. While both its combat and trading eventually get repetitive, the gorgeous graphics and pixel art make it a pleasant journey while it lasts. Unfortunately, your character's quest comes to feel as shallow as the merchant's life he wants to escape with its uninteresting goal and uninspired conclusion.

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Bryan Lawver

Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood does the bare minimum, but it's still well worth playing. While there are no extras included in this anthology, the two games it contains are some of the best ever made, and one of them has been pretty difficult to come by until now. Aside from the replacement of Symphony of the Night's wonderfully campy voice acting, both games are delivered in perfect shape and are still as worth playing today as they've ever been.

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Bryan Lawver
Oct 18, 2018

Dark Souls Remastered doesn't add a lot to the Dark Souls formula, but then again it doesn't need to. Its graphical updates are subtle, and sometimes dubious, and the tweaks it makes to the game will only be noticeable to the already converted. But a refreshed pool of players means more opportunities for jolly cooperation, and the Switch makes it more convenient than ever to play the sometimes unapproachable classic. For better or worse, Dark Souls Remastered is essentially the Dark Souls you already know on a new platform.

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Bryan Lawver
Sep 25, 2018

The Bard's Tale IV could be a fun — but seriously flawed — game if it weren't hamstrung by technical problems. Its frequent framerate drops, bugged combat abilities, and crashes are compounded by an archaic save system that makes it far too easy to lose progress. Though it features some great combat and challenging puzzles, they're not without their own flaws, and become extremely repetitive over the game's 30–40-hour playtime.

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Bryan Lawver

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner --- M∀RS is one of the best looking mech games out there, despite being a remaster of a 15-year-old game. Its fast, flashy combat still looks and feels good, but is constantly undermined by an extremely unwieldy camera. With its short, linear campaign, dull story, and terrible dialogue, The 2nd Runner seems stuck in 2003, despite its slick graphical upgrade.

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Bryan Lawver
65 / 100 - The Low Road
Sep 1, 2018

Despite an extremely promising opening, The Low Road fails to capitalize on its own interesting premise. Every part of its presentation, from art to music to voice acting, is fantastic, but the puzzles that make up the game fall flat. Though I was happy to spend time with The Low Road's characters, the game around them doesn't hold up.

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Bryan Lawver
75 / 100 - Death's Gambit
Aug 28, 2018

Death's Gambit is buggy, unpolished, frustrating, and derivative. At the same time, it features some interesting bosses and unexpected storytelling tricks. It's sure to be a divisive game, but you may be won over by the atmosphere its fantastic art, music, and voice acting create, if you can overlook its flaws.

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