Callum Rakestraw


31 games reviewed
96.8% of games recommended
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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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Aug 23, 2023

Atlas Fallen’s momentum system is a fantastic idea and works well, but the fights themselves aren’t interesting enough to keep up.

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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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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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Mar 1, 2023

It does speak to where Rhythm Sprout‘s interests in difficulty tend to lie, though. It’s a game that has a clear interest in providing challenge wherever possible, and it’s very good at doing that. It thankfully doesn’t forget approachability in that pursuit, but your mileage may vary on its effectiveness. If you’re able to put up with some of the more demanding levels, though, Rhythm Sprout is worth your time.

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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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Worth your time - Worldless
Dec 2, 2023

Worldless captures the thrill of a good close fight.

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Worth your time - BIT.TRIP RERUNNER
Sep 26, 2023

With the inclusion of the original game and a set of new mechanics that slot in naturally, Bit.Trip Rerunner is a stellar example of a remake.

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Worth your time - Pseudoregalia
Aug 6, 2023

This small metroidvania has some of the best movement you’ll find in a game this year.

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Liked-a-lot - Bleak Sword DX
Jul 21, 2023

Bleak Sword is quick and to the point. Sometimes that’s all you need.

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Nov 1, 2022

In a time where games are frequently seeing full-scale remakes, often trying to replace the original works in the process, to see a classic come back out with only the smallest of changes made is welcome. And with the original game still readily available on Steam, Shatter Remastered Deluxe isn’t seeking to replace the original: it’s just an opportunity to bring the game back into the spotlight. If re-releases remain the best means to achieve that currently, then at least Shatter Remastered Deluxe takes the right approach.

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