Don't get me wrong - I had a fun time with BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites. The rebalanced difficulty is great, and there's even an option for sadists that enjoy the original. Combat has some strategy I appreciated, especially with figuring out when and where to detonate infected enemies for maximum effect. (I still received many C grades for my time and life scores at the end of levels, though.) It's just that I wish some of the platforming were better and the characters were given more personality. Hopefully, this re-release will garner interest in BloodRayne, and a fleshed-out sequel will head our way one day.
After all is said and done, Unbound: Worlds Apart is a special little game. Sure, it wears its Ori influence pretty tightly on its sleeve, it has a bit of an unstable frame rate, and there are some difficulty spikes in the latter half. But the wildly different portals you get to summon and the puzzles that are intertwined with them are unlike anything I've seen before. They are quite creative and always made me hungry for the next area and its new gimmick. Give it a whirl if you enjoy variety, puzzles, and Metroidvanias.
All in all, Mr. X Nightmare is a great add-on for Streets of Rage 4. For less than $10, gamers get new characters and an infinitely replayable Survival Mode. The free update just adds a cherry on top. Grab it when you can, and enjoy playing while dreaming of a possible Streets of Rage 5.
But these are minor inconveniences. Boomerang X is a short but sweet indie gem. Its frantic nature has you holding your breath as a deadly laser misses you by inches while you throw your boomerang at an arena's last combatant. Expect to have a lot of moments like that if you decide to purchase Devolver's latest unique title.
When remaking something that is hard on an old console, developers should try to fix any unfair elements while keeping the spirit of the original alive. If you don't bother to touch those things up, you'll end up with mediocrity, time and again. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is just that. While the title looks stunning, has nostalgic collectibles to gather, and includes a Classic Mode and Boss Rush Mode as extras, all that extra fluff means nothing if the game itself is fundamentally broken. Ah, what could have been.
In the end, Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is a mediocre game. Uninspired level design, frustrating movement controls, and permanently missable power-ups all contribute to a lackluster experience. When I think the best part of the title is the cute butt dance Asha does when she opens a chest, you know things are bad. Just play Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap or Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom instead.
There is something here that can turn into a great series. If a sequel gets made for Kaze and the Wild Masks that leans more into its own ideas and tightens up its platforming, there isn't a doubt in my mind it can eventually become one of the greats.
Still, Desperate Struggle is a great action game. It has some fantastic one-liners, the end boss is a sight to behold, and there are a lot of cool moments peppered throughout. If you fully analyze the good and bad, it's no better or worse than No More Heroes. Play them both back to back while awaiting No More Heroes III.
These drawbacks aside, I can heartily recommend Horace to action-adventure lovers. You'll chuckle and shed a tear throughout your playtime while learning the techniques necessary to conquer the gravity manipulation-heavy platform sections. If you're an old soul like me, you'll also appreciate the many references to old-school gaming. Give this genre-defying title a chance if you want to experience something old and new at the same time.