Callum Rakestraw


19 games reviewed
94.7% of games recommended
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Liked - Thymesia
Sep 15, 2022

As more and more games take inspiration from the Souls games and play with those mechanics, I hope more consider taking Thymesia‘s tack of seeing what removing a fundamental aspect has. The Souls-like designation is more than just mechanics at this point, I think, and seeing more games challenge what genre entails is something I’d like to see. Thymesia‘s choice to remove stamina is odd on its face, but the results speak for themselves.

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Sep 7, 2022

But also like Mario Party, the actual competitive aspects are moot. Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a party game first and foremost. These sorts of games aren’t meant to be super balanced competitive experiences, but something you can just load up and have some fun with and maybe get a few laughs out of. To that end, Kirby’s Dream Buffet is successful. It’s rather slight overall – you can easily get your fill in just a few games since there isn’t a whole lot to it – but enjoyable even so.

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Aug 23, 2022

Once a run gets underway and everything starts to click, it’s a good time. Being able to construct a build fully formed before you make another attempt at the 50 level gauntlet that Blacken Slash presents is a great hook that the game delivers on splendidly. I’m probably a long way out from actually getting a win still, but at least I’m always getting somewhere in the meantime.

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Loved - DNF Duel
Jul 11, 2022

It’s hard to know what DNF Duel will look like in a year’s time, let alone a few months. Fighting games get huge updates so frequently these days it’s impossible to know what form they’ll take in the long term, whether due to the developers deciding to make massive changes or the meta shifting in such a way that pigeon-holes the greater play dynamics. Right now, though, it’s a ton of fun and relatively easy to hop in and just start pressing buttons. Hopefully it can stay that way for a while because it’s nice to have something to just turn on and get some quick sets in without feeling like I need to actually put in actual work to do anything.

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Liked-a-lot - Freshly Frosted
Jul 1, 2022

Puzzle games are good because you can take just about any premise and turn it into something fun. Building snowmen in A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, guiding water to create waterfalls in Spring Falls, splicing microbes in Splice… just about anything can be turned into a puzzle. In the case of Freshly Frosted, that’s building donut factories.

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Loved - Card Shark
Jun 8, 2022

It’s easy to imagine another version of Card Shark where every trick becomes far more involved on the input side of things to try creating a more one-to-one imitation of the movements, thereby making every step a more delicate process. And that version might be good too, but that they can feel satisfying to pull off with such simple inputs while still seeming complex is a definite achievement; not only for the way it makes them more easily accessible but the ways it still feels like you’re shuffling the deck or pulling sleight of hand maneuvers.

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Wait - Loot River
May 12, 2022

Loot River’s pitch is a strong one. Described as “Dark Souls meets Tetris,” Loot River is a roguelike wherein you move platforms (often in the shape of Tetris blocks) around while fighting enemies in Souls-like combat. It’s a roguelike that combines light puzzle solving in how to navigate the game’s tight corridors using the large platforms (especially when you’re trying to grab a treasure chest) and the lethal nature of Souls-like combat splendidly.

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Unscored - Tunic
Mar 16, 2022

Tunic is defined by its mysteries. It’s a game that purposefully obfuscates much of the experience. Its world is packed full of secrets to find and hidden puzzles to solve. It gives back as much as you’re willing to invest. It can just be a simple adventure starring a cute fox. Or it can be a really involved puzzle that requires a ton of patience and fortitude to solve. I’m very excited to see everyone else get their hands on Tunic and start figuring out its many mysteries. I expect everything will be cataloged and be a quick google search away in due time, but until then, the process of discovery should be a fun one.

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Unscored - Tails of Iron
Dec 16, 2021

When Tails of Iron works, it works. There’s a weight to combat that makes each hit feel powerful, the sounds of weapons clanging against each other and the smooth animations demonstrating the force put behind each strike. It’s fast and lethal, a few good hits all it takes to be within death’s grasp. It’s difficult, but thrilling when everything clicks. But there’s only so much I can push through the less enjoyable sections, only so much I can bang my head against the wall that is certain bosses before I lose interest.

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Unscored - Chorus
Dec 13, 2021

The ways you can use your abilities to end fights as quickly as they begin never gets old. Every time a fight occurs, I welcome it. There’s a speed and efficiency to it that makes even the smallest skirmishes fun to partake in. The range of abilities you can use plays no small part in that, but it’s mainly just how good it feels to move around and how the degree of control you have enables you to perform all sorts of wild moves. Arcade-style space shooters of this style aren’t as common these days as the games hew toward simulation with regard to flight, which makes Chorus all the more welcome a surprise.

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Unscored - Dreamscaper
Aug 17, 2021

Dreamscaper rewards patience. It may not have immediately pulled me in, but sticking with it was ultimately worth it. In part because the wait wasn’t huge, but also because the majority of my time with it has been worthwhile. It’s a very satisfying game to play once it finds its rhythm. Roguelikes are a crowded genre with plenty of games vying for attention, and Dreamscaper is one definitely worth your attention.

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Jul 19, 2021

Despite some failings in its tutorial, Guilty Gear Strive is ultimately a more approachable entry in the series.

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Unscored - Paradise Killer
Sep 28, 2020

The conceit of Paradise Killer isn’t so much that you’re trying to find the actual truth of the case, but rather find what you believe to be the truth.

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Unscored - Spiritfarer
Sep 19, 2020

Spiritfarer handles its heavy subject matter with care, crafting a story that's equal parts comforting and moving.

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Unscored - Hellpoint
Aug 14, 2020

As much as I enjoyed most of my time with Hellpoint — it’s a good Souls-like on the whole — the excitement of unfettered exploration alone can only sustain it for so long.

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Unscored - Necrobarista
Jul 22, 2020

For as heavy as Necrobarista is, its tale of death and letting go is ultimately one worth seeing.

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Jul 20, 2020

Chances are you when you hear about shoot-‘em-ups, you think of the bullet hell variety. Constant hails of gunfire filling the screen, leaving hardly any room to breathe. Rigid Force Redux isn’t nearly as intense, instead allowing you to easily decimate everything in your path and focus on trying to maximize your score. It’s a comparatively more relaxed style of shooter. Challenging, but not as daunting as some of its peers.

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Unscored - Jet Lancer
Jun 1, 2020

Bobbing and weaving through hails of gunfire, frantically trying to intercept bombs, taking down any enemies you can wherever you can all the while: Jet Lancer is at its best in these moments. For as tough as it can be sometimes (though thankfully it does include a nice suite of difficulty and accessibility modifiers you can activate at any time), when it all comes together, it’s sublime.

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87 / 100 - 10 Second Ninja
Mar 22, 2014

Why hours of failure is worth enduring for the sweet taste of victory, if only for a second. There may be a few skill hurdles to overcome at first, but once you best them, 10 Second Ninja is nothing short of sublime.

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