Charlie Kelly


121 games reviewed
75.3 average score
80 median score
75.2% of games recommended
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9 / 10.0 - Lies of P
Sep 13, 2023

More than just a meme game with a meme name, Lies of P is a thrilling Souls-like that delivers on its promises. On offer is a charming and over-the-top dark Pinocchio story, made all the more impactful by its blunt environmental storytelling. Genre fans also get to have their cake and eat it too, having functions from a lot of the titles in the crowd that work together in tandem to create a thrilling and delightfully challenging combat experience with memorable and grandiose environments and boss design. There are small mechanical additions such as breaking foes' weapons and a morality system explored through lying or telling the truth that are both valuable in distinguishing itself just that little bit more.  Topping it all off is a thorough journey with meaningful upgrades and a changing of world states to have you coming back for more. I cannot believe this silly little game actually pulls it all off, providing one of the better action games we've had this year. Lies of P isn't just a wannabe. It's a real game standing with giants.

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9 / 10.0 - Gunbrella
Sep 13, 2023

Gunbrella is another example of developer doinksoft proving they know how to make a wicked cool video game. Featuring rainy nights and gorgeously bleak environments overrun with pollution as the backdrop, the steampunk and noir vibes are palpable as you investigate the inner politics of a town and, most importantly, your wife's killer. Thankfully all that deliberate dreariness is complemented by a cool traversal system with the umbrella and frenetic 2D action that does a good job balancing the difficult task of empowering and challenging the player. Topping it all off is a final area and twist seen to be believed. Gunbrella is amazing and a must-have modern action title for your library of games.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Eternights
Sep 4, 2023

Though far from perfect, Eternights has a lot of good ideas that heavier hitters in the action dating sim genre should follow. Despite being a small team, Studio Sai provides a fun and enjoyable experience in the scene, offering charming and equally viable dating options to get to know, even adding a queer romance option. There's an engaging mystery to uncover in-game too, every so often taking the time to showcase this in gorgeous 2D animation. Though polish could've been greater in distracting HUD and menus, combat checkpoints and the like, what the studio has done for the genre is create an earnest and wholehearted positive step forward.

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Aug 28, 2023

Samba De Amigo: Party Central isn't quite the revitalisation of the licensed music rhythm game, but it is a decent, weird and charming little title. It's a big deal that the franchise is returning after fifteen years and to celebrate is a fun enough and grooving adventure that celebrates both a wide range of excellent songs across multiple genres and even the SEGA name as a whole. Playing in multiplayer, competitively or co-operatively makes for dastardly sabotage or harmonious pairing fun. While this lets up somewhat in motion control movements not being as responsive as they should, button prompt inputs make for a rhythmic good time as you work up a finger cramp or two gliding your fingers across the face buttons. The Streamigo campaign mode may offer a nice setting but will test players with its grindy nature and artificially bloated length. Still, for every shortfall, there's enough whimsy in Party Central that it will be certainly worth picking up those maracas and shaking it all out to a moving, grooving time.

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8 / 10.0 - En Garde!
Aug 20, 2023

Out of nowhere, En Garde! is a surprise hit and a swashbuckling tale well worth playing. Engaging in fights, whether that's one-on-one or being outnumbered as you navigate an environment, using many obstacles and contraptions is immensely fun. Complimenting all of this is a painterly world, backed with a strong soundtrack, clever dialogue quips and a lot of heart. My biggest gripe with En Garde! is that there isn't more of it, something I so desperately need. As iron and steel collide in tense frantic battles or as you send your hundredth mook careening down a flight of stairs, one thing becomes apparent: Fireplace Games have made a hell of an unbelievably charming and special game.

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Aug 16, 2023

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is so close to being Mimimi's best. There are enjoyable diverse skills that make for some of the best stealth tactics gameplay we've ever seen. Enjoyable too is the colourful and often humorous side stories, along with plenty of feats to seek after for completionist obsessives. It may not have the most interesting main-story quest structure or be the most stable and bug-free at the moment but when Shadow Gambit gets moving it soars and sails, providing an addictive and fun tactics adventure.

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Aug 14, 2023

Deconstructeam has created its best game yet with The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, further cementing itself as one of Devolver Digital's strongest studios. Every complex theme in the narrative, whether that's mental health, isolation, trans or human rights, is handled with grace and written so beautifully it feels like prose on screen in front of you. Magnificent and captivating too is the pixel art and animation, distinguishing each witch and highlighting charming quirks. Never have I played a game so personal and handcrafted for me and never have I felt so fostered and supported in creativity and my livelihood through the simple magical medium of a video game. Becoming my own witch, crafting away at some cards, and settling in for some comfy vibes is something special. Something special that has to be experienced. Your must-play video games of 2023 aren't blockbuster hits. They're titles like this, needing to be seen to be believed and never done before.

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9 / 10.0 - Remnant II
Aug 1, 2023

Remnant II is a best-case scenario for the genre. The anticipated follow-up sequel ups the ambition and it pulls off immensely well, providing one of the best non-FromSoftware Souls games we've had yet.  It's the true complex Action RPG without any of the fuss. Co-op play is seamless with getting teammates in and out of the action. Menus are clear and concise while experimenting with builds is a rewarding and deep experience. Environments are tenfold more detailed and exciting than its predecessor, providing some of the best setpieces and boss encounters I've seen in a while. Deep too is the lore and exciting world to uncover, all well worth chipping away at. Little is holding it back bar a quality-of-life update or two. Remnant II is golden, magnificently making moves in the now crowded game space it has found itself in.

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Jul 26, 2023

Disney Illusion Island may be striving to be a flashy and exciting 2D Metroidvania experience, but its depth remains one-dimensional. It starts at a snail's pace with its drip-feeding of basic and essential abilities and from there it never really picks up. This is unfortunately thanks to floaty platforming that will disinterest most along with the most uninspired Metroidvania-level design I've seen in some time. Though there are classic and picturesque Disney flourishes aplenty, it's not enough to make the game an enjoyable experience to investigate every nook and cranny for secrets. Be warned, this is an island voyage not all that worth taking.

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Jun 26, 2023

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective now being playable on modern platforms is an incredibly exciting occasion worth celebrating. Its involved puzzle mechanics are as satisfying to unfold as ever as you glide between interaction points, moving that last piece to create a thrilling domino effect of a solution. Complimentary to this are the quirky character design and animations, along with the involved storyline that wraps up without any loose threads. Tying this all in a neat bow is the return of a fantastic soundtrack now with incredible rearrangements to further immerse you in the noir setting. Ghost Trick is back and the gaming world couldn't be any better for it.

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Jun 20, 2023

Final Fantasy XVI is a weirdo black-sheep entry for the series. It won't be for all nor what all fans necessarily want for the franchise, but I also love it for that boldness. It's a gripping and harrowing page-turner of an epic high-fantasy story with plenty of heart the series is known for. Complex too are the characters, even if not all see their justice by the end. Valisthea is an eerily gorgeous setting, providing some of the most memorable vistas you'll have seen in a Final Fantasy game yet. Accessibility might not be at the forefront of the combat in-game but on offer is some of the most stylistic, and satisfying gameplay we've ever seen in an Action RPG. Even if you take further umbrage with its small flaws, there's no denying that Final Fantasy XVI is a special and memorable event. Through thick and thin, that franchise magic is captured once again. Frankly, you can't ask for anything better than that.

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7.5 / 10.0 - The Tartarus Key
May 30, 2023

The Tartarus Key is a good experimental indie horror venture. It never outstays its welcome and creates a thrilling, brooding experience that never cheapens itself with jump scares. Feeling a little existential in its atmosphere, this too is bolstered by the low poly PS1 era art style the game is going for. Though not every puzzle is the most fun to work through, they are at least all well thought out with plenty of fun quirks that work well with the escape room vibes. I enjoyed being in the heat of the moment, feeling something in my brain click when I solved a brain teaser and it resulted in rescuing another character's life. Rounding it out is a fun cast I'm needing to see more of, with Alex as a force of nature of a horror protagonist. Rest assured, The Tartarus Key is a secret little gem that should be high on indie horror fans' lists.

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Apr 19, 2023

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is one of the better returns to a classic tactics series. Both individual games have aged exponentially well with campaigns that are more enjoyable and charming than you'd think, and just as many thrilling fights to match. Developer Wayforward deserves credit for earnestly including quality of life and approachability options for more players, but it can ever so rarely leave a difficulty imbalance from level to level. However, that is hardly a scuff on the excellent product provided. Smart battlefield design accompanied with engaging objectives make for some excellent missions to chip away at. Similarly, the colouring and model design is superb, further immersing the player in commanding a battlefield as an ultimate strategist. Players are in excellent hands with Re-Boot Camp. It's up to them to use those tools to triumph in battle and come out on top. Hoorah.

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8 / 10.0 - Tron: Identity
Apr 11, 2023

Tron: Legacy is a great and fitting return for the sci-fi franchise, providing a gripping neo-noir story that bubbles away on a single moody, rainy night. Foundations of the exciting, futuristic world explored years prior are now realised even further thanks to the highly detailed writing talent at Bithell Games, making you feel like you're there amongst the chaos. Though at times missing some of the typical visual novel conveniences and containing crunchy 3D models, the world laid bare - the world of Tron -  is exciting once more. Striking character profiles, eloquent writing and effective puzzles all help in reminding us of the fact that Tron as a franchise is special and a little weird but most importantly here to stay. Remember that.

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure is nothing short of an epic RPG story. It's not as good an onboarding point for the greater series as its predecessor Trails From Zero was, but that cost just means bigger ambition with the narrative beats and world explored.  It's worth noting it's not as polished as it should be, showing its age with the lower visual fidelity and framerate dips. However, the priority with NIS America is clearly just getting the game out there. Frankly, what a game it is. Crossbell is as magical as ever and it was a heartfelt joy to experience the second and closing story for the SSS team. You're not getting many experiences as special as this one. I love and will miss you, Crossbell.

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7 / 10.0 - Tchia
Mar 19, 2023

Tchia provides a vibrant and enjoyable world to explore. Soul jumping into an animal or object to move about is an incredible mechanic that allows for creativity, experimentation, and improvisation. Sailing among the waves is mesmerising in colour and imagery, as is the thick jungle and wildlife that also awaits. What's more refreshing is the open-world formula the game offers that doesn't daunt you, only rewarding you for however much you choose to engage with it. Tchia may have the occasional bug on PC and a rocky and overly accelerated last quarter of a story, but remaining throughout is a narrative and world with heart, love, and a feeling of home. For that alone, this is a game well worth taking to the high seas for.

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Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a good remake. It paints an engaging and delightfully horrific world to delve into, with shocking twists and secrets to uncover at every turn. While players will very likely be left picking up the pieces of its narrative largely told through readables, it's rewarding when it all clicks into place, painting a harrowing picture set in Southern Japan. It may be a remake that is still very of its era, with finicky camera movement and some questionable female character skins that can only come from that of gaming in the 2000s. However, in every other aspect, Mask of the Lunar Eclipse revels in its origins. On offer is wicked, tense and tight combat performed creatively through the Camera Obscura. It's environmental design and scares are begging to be picked apart in true throwback fashion. Well worth the resurfacing indeed.

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PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a gripping page-turner of a visual novel. It occupied my brain so much that every second not playing felt like a second wasted. It felt like I was hit with so many fitting and bending twists I was second-guessing everything I once knew, always on my toes. Immensely powerful and engaging writing in-game is bolstered with memorable and distinguished characters. Those characters and the late 20th century Japan setting are incredibly realised; a feat only possible by the industry legends at the helm. In art, music and writing, players are in for a meaningful and unforgettable experience that's a must-play for the genre. Better yet, it even has fun with the genre tropes and traditions, creating engaging puzzles and problem-solving throughout. If there's one visual novel game you play this year, make it this one. You won't regret it.

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Feb 20, 2023

Metroid Prime Remastered is an already amazing game made almost a masterpiece by its shiny new upgrades. FPS combat is thrilling as you work arenas and rooms to your advantage with your diverse arsenal and suit upgrades. Traversing all of the many environments throughout is just as enriching. That remains true whether that's hunting through the environment, rolling in morph ball mode through small spaces in puzzle fashion, or taking in gorgeous views. All of the detailing and fidelity is improved exponentially, proving to be one of the most gargantuan efforts of a remaster. All that could still use additional touching up are tiny, relatively insignificant functions. A thoroughly enjoyable time is ahead of you, uncovering more and more secrets and oh-so-sweet lore. Metroid Prime Remastered is one for the books and how remasters should be moving forward.

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Feb 17, 2023

Like A Dragon: Ishin! has a bit of ironing out to do before it becomes the amazing game it deserves to be. Players may notice it is the least polished game in the series in some time, and be tested by a slow start to the narrative and rolling out of mechanics to engage in chaotic fun. It's worth sticking it out though. It's one of the better stories to come from the franchise, with gripping inner and political conflict, where steel collides and wounds (both physical and emotional) cut deep. Kyoto too is home to some of the better instances of minigames and sub-stories, getting good mileage out of its feudal Japan setting. Living out your samurai life is palpable and thoroughly enjoyable as you cut down anyone who stands in your way in engaging combat. Like A Dragon: Ishin! may not be an all-timer for the series, but it's definitely the title with the best vibes.

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