For $24.99 Streets of Rage 4 is a good game, but it can really benefit from better balance between the characters and some of the levels. There is a good amount of replay value thanks to the unlockable characters, additional difficulties, a boss rush mode and online play. You can fight with each other in the story or Arcade mode or fight against each other in battle mode. In any case, if you are a fan of 2D beat ’em ups, this is one worth checking out.
The game will last about an hour or two depending on your platforming skills. If you want more of a challenge you can try the Hard difficulty mode where you are given only 6 lives to complete the entire game. For $5, Dogurai might tickle that nostalgic itch for a bit, however once you get over the initial thrill of playing a modern Game Boy style game there isn’t much else here that will keep your attention. The game never truly lives up to its full potential, but as a relatively inexpensive little game, it’s not bad.
For $14.99 Murder By Numbers is a game I really hesitate to recommend. It is a relatively lengthy experience as it took me about 28 hours to complete, with a lot of that time spent solving the puzzles. It’s a competent Picross game that will give you a large amount of puzzles to solve, but the story really didn’t leave much of a lasting impression on me. It showed a lot of promise at first, but ultimately falls short of reaching its full potential. I think the developers really wanted to make Murder By Numbers something special and I would like to see them improve on the formula and expand on the narrative in a sequel.
It’s clear that Shenmue III is a game that wants to please the fans and it’s clear a lot of effort was put in ensuring this experience is the one we would have had on the Dreamcast back then. They even bothered to get Corey Marshall to reprise his role as Ryo for the English audio track. However, the game trips over itself in its execution. Shenmue III is so stuck in the past and in its own bad habits that it forgot it needs to move on. Shenmue III is very much “more Shenmue” in that it’s certainly a continuation of the story, but its also not taking many significant steps in moving it or the gameplay forward. Yu Suzuki had a rather grand vision for the future of the series but for fans to have waited this long only to get a small glimpse of that vision and continue to be teased about it is incredibly disappointing. It feels like him and his team are constantly building hype for things we can expect in the future games without ever actually delivering on it. And while it’s true that in the past, he wasn’t entirely at fault due to the fate of the Dreamcast, I have a very hard time excusing it here.
Other than some alternate difficulty modes and a funny versus mode where the two characters can duke it out, there really isn’t much reason to keep coming back to Haunted: Halloween ’86. It’s a game that isn’t really bad, but also not a particularly remarkable one. Once you get over the fact that this is a new NES game, you’ll start to see this game’s flaws more and more and realize that there are other exciting indie platformers out there. That said, Haunted Halloween is worth checking out if you are looking for more NES games to play. The game won’t take you too long as a playthrough will take about an hour or much less if you get good enough at the game to speedrun it. The digital version isn’t terribly expensive at $9.99 and can be fun for a little while if you are feeling nostalgic and find yourself craving a Halloween themed retro game. If you are interested in a physical NES cartridge with the game, check out Retrotainment Games’ site.
If you really enjoy the frantic nature of the game, there is lots for you to come back to. Most of the enemies you encounter can be unlocked as a playable character, and the levels are filled with branching paths and decisions you can make leading to more than 40 endings for you to unlock. So clearly this game is packed with content and replay value. However it’s up to you to make the most of it and spend a lot of time mastering the battle system in order for you to really appreciate it. The levels are large and can go on for a long time. But as I’ve mentioned before the game is oozing with style so that can potentially keep you playing even if it will kick your butt for a while. Also the music is rocking, with plenty of metal tunes to compliment the action and mayhem on screen as you are sending enemies flying or being sent flying yourself. For $20 Fight ‘N Rage is a nice little gem, however your enjoyment of it really depends on how much you are willing to put up with the learning curve. If it clicks for you and you enjoy mastering the parry system and learn how to chain attacks properly, this will probably be among the best beat ’em ups you’ve ever played and the unlockable content is sure to keep you coming back for more.
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors will cost you $19.99 digitally and $29.99 for a physical copy. That’s a great price point for this kind of game. It’s short but loads of fun and there is plenty of challenge including a harder difficulty mode to keep you coming back for more. Each character also feels different enough that you will be compelled to try out as many as you can. What is nice is that when you lose a life and continue, you can change characters. So if you have trouble with one, you don’t have to fully commit to using them. There are also Time Attack modes and Online Rankings for those of you who like to speedrun and compete for the best time. All in all this is a nice package that fans of the original game or the SNES sequel will not want to miss. As for everyone else, this is a game well worth trying out.
I’m not the only one disappointed in this ending. It was the topic of discussion shortly after the game launched on message boards and on Twitter. Many people have had very colorful things to say about Wayforward when it comes to this ending and their portrayal of female characters. Despite my last two paragraphs, I’m not here to attack Wayforward or Arc System Works for this. I think they made an excellent game that hits almost all the right notes but just couldn’t fully nail the landing. I encourage them to revisit and expand on this story in a sequel, because I think the biggest reason the ending doesn’t make a lot of sense to me is that it’s very abrupt. It feels like there was more story to be told about these characters and I would love to hear and see it. Also I just want to play more River City Girls! Some of you might think the $29.99 price tag for the digital release is a bit high, but aside from the ending, this was one hell of a good time. If you are interested in a physical copy, Limited Run Games had a standard edition available to preorder until September 27th. If you were unable to preorder a copy by then and are still looking for a physical copy, Play-Asia also has multi-language physical copies for both PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Steins;Gate Elite is for people who have either never experienced Steins;Gate before, people who have never read a Visual Novel, were turned off by their lack of animation or those who want to experience the story in a slightly different way. If you find the anime visuals to be too off-putting, then the original Visual Novel is available on PC, PS3 and the PlayStation Vita. Not only are those available both in physical and digital format, but they are also cheaper than this new $59.99 release. However if you have played the original and are curious about Linear Bounded Phenogram, then you should consider checking this release out as well. No matter which version of Steins;Gate you experience, you’re in for a hell of a ride that can last you a solid 30 hours or more if you try and get every single ending or route.
Between the two story modes, hidden items and the bonus modes, Umihara Kawase Fresh! has a solid amount of replay value and if you really enjoyed playing the story mode, the game gives you a lot of reasons to come back to it. Long-time Umihara Kawase fans may find this one a bit weird and even alienating at first with all of the modifications to the gameplay and feel, but change isn’t always a bad thing and I think they did a solid job working with those changes. It’s still an Umihara Kawase title, which means it’s still an enjoyable time despite its flaws. If this is your first time jumping into Umihara Kawase and you find the fishing lure mechanics interesting, I highly recommend you check out some of the older games as well, especially Sayonara Umihara Kawase.